A paper from the Bonassar lab was featured on the website Science Daily. The manuscript, published in PLOS ONE, is titled “Frictional characterization of injectable hyaluronic acids is more predictive of clinical outcomes than traditional rheological or viscoelastic characterization.” The paper sheds new light on an ongoing debate over the mechanism of action of injectable hyaluronic acid therapies that are used for arthritis treatment. Over 1 million such injections are given in the US per year at a total cost of $1 billion. Such injections have been considered Class III medical devices for decades. Recently the FDA announced that it would consider reclassifying such injections as drugs because of potential biological mechanisms of action of hyaluronic acid. The new paper demonstrates that the clinical outcomes associated with these products are highly correlated with the ability to lubricate cartilage, indicating that mechanical mechanisms are likely still very important to their activity. Notably, traditional methods of assessing the viscosity of hyaluronic acid formulations are not predictive of clinical performance, but direct measurements of their ability to lubricate cartilage are predictive.
Additionally commentary from Prof. Bonassar about this paper can be found at Science Daily (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190604101638.htm).
The first author, Dr. Eddie Bonnevie, received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, working in the Bonassar lab to understand new mechanisms of cartilage lubrication. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the McKay Research Laboratory in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations to Eddie and his co-authors!