Developed by Düsseldorf orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Peter Wehling and molecular biologist Dr. Julio Reinecke – the orthokine therapy is a treatment by which anti-inflammatory proteins from the patient’s own blood are the ones injected into the arthritic joint.
It is based on an understanding of the biological mechanisms that lead to of osteoarthritis and pain. In osteoarthritis, the body produces interleukin-1 (IL-1), a protein that contributes to the breakdown of cartilage.
To slow down or stop this process, the biological adversary of IL-1, the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), is used. IL-1Ra neutralizes the effect of IL 1, and has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and cartilage-protective effects.
In the Orthokine method, various anti-flammatory proteins and growth factors such as IL-1Ra are obtained from the patient’s own blood and injected back into the affected joint.
Now, results of a two-year study which compared treatments of hyaluronic acid, orthokine and placebo in osteoarthritis of the knee, revealed that orthokine treatment is the safest and most effective treatment. This has been the GOAT study (German Osteoarthritis Trial) conducted by researchers at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf.
They compared the effects of injections of Orthokine, hyaluronic acid and placebo in 310 arthritis patients over a two-year period. Hyaluronic acid, a joint lubricant, is widely used to treat arthritis. Saline was used as the placebo.
Two years after the series of injections, patients treated with Orthokine scored substantially better than those treated with hyaluronic acid or placebo on measures of pain and joint function.
Two years after the initial treatment, 188 of the 310 patients were still reporting improvements with respect to pain and joint function, while 122 had sought other treatments in the meantime such as surgery, injections, medication or acupuncture. The number of patients requiring further treatment was smallest in the Orthokine group.
According to Prof. Peter Wehling, chairman of the board of Orthogen AG and the co-developer of the orthokine therapy:
“The two-year results confirm our previous studies: Orthokine therapy provides long-term relief from pain and joint dysfunction in many patients and does so more effectively than comparable treatments”.