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'Broccoli drug' may treat osteoarthritis
broccoli
The beneficial effects of broccoli are due to sulforaphane, a compound released during digestion.

Positive results for new drug tested at the RVC

A chemical found in broccoli could offer a treatment for osteoarthritis, after a new drug has been successfully trialled for the first time at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

Eating cruciferous vegetables such as sprouts, cabbages and particularly broccoli has been found to ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis. However, patients would have to eat a substantial amount each day to see any real benefits.

The advantages of broccoli are due to sulforaphane, a compound released from the vegetable during digestion, which blocks certain enzymes that destroy joint cartilage. It also obstructs processes that cause the inflammation linked to osteoarthritis.

It had proved impossible to manufacture sulforaphane into a regular pill as it is an unstable molecule.

However, working alongside the RVC, UK pharmaceutical company Evgen Pharma has developed a stable, synthetic version of the compound and incorporated it into a new medicine called Sulforadex (SFX-01). Just a single dose of this medication provides as much sulforaphane as 2.5kg of broccoli.

Osteoarthritis affects nearly nine million people in the UK, costing the NHS over £5 billion a year. Other than pain relief and joint replacement, there is currently no effective treatment or cure. The RVC's professor of skeletal dynamics, Andrew Pitsillides said there is "massive" potential for SFX-01.

For the first time, the product has been trialled by the RVC using live laboratory mice prone to osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritic mice treated with SFX-01 were shown to have substantially improved movement, gait balance and bone architecture, compared with the control group that did not receive treatment.

“These initial results are very positive for such an experiment and we have convinced ourselves that sulforaphane is a promising agent for the treatment of osteoarthritis," said Prof Pitsillides.

“However, the clinical development of sulforaphane has been held back by the fact that it is inherently unstable. Thus, SFX-01 is a major advance in this area.”

Further pre-clinical and then human clinical trials are needed now that the product is seen as a viable treatment for the painful joint condition.

Human trials are already underway to further investigate the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane.

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Petplan Veterinary Awards 2020 open for nominations

News Story 1
 Nominations are open for the 2020 Petplan Veterinary Awards, a prestigious event that pays recognition to some of the UKs most notable veterinary professionals.

We have been recognising the brilliant work of the UKs veterinary professionals through the Petplan Veterinary Awards for 21 years now and every year the standard of entries just gets higher, said James Barnes, head of sales and partnerships at Petplan.

To nominate a colleague for the awards visit petplanvet.co.uk/vetawards, before nominations close on 16th January 2020. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 2 April 2020 in Birmingham. 

Click here for more...
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Designed by researchers at the University of Liverpool and incoming BEVA president Tim Mair, the survey aims to fill gaps in knowledge about how antimicrobials are being used in equine practice and the landscape of resistant infections encountered in equine practice.

Researchers hope the results will lead to a greater understanding of the role of antimicrobial treatment and antimicrobial resistance in horses and protect antibiotics for the future of equine and human health.