Affiliation: Osteoarthritis Research Unit, University of Montreal Hospital Centre, Notre-Dame Hospital, 1560 Sherbrooke St. East, Y-2622, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is by far the most prevalent arthritic disease affecting around 10% of the worlds population and approximately 60% of 60-year-olds. It is also one of the most common arthritic diseases seen by general practitioners and rheumatologists. The increased frequency of OA with age, makes it a growing social health concern, as it is a disease associated with disability and pain. In the US today, the immediate cost of the disease is estimated at approximately 60 billion dollars a year. Despite the clinical success of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and of anti-cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 in treating symptoms, there is no cure for the disease to date. However, our knowledge of its etiopathogenesis has progressed significantly in the past few decades. Based on studies of human cells and animal models, targets for therapeutic intervention have been put forward and major efforts are underway to bring about new therapies that can reduce or stop the progression of the disease. This review should help the reader better understand the most recent advances regarding inflammatory and growth factors as new targets in reducing or stopping OA.