And if we tried to treat osteoarthritis with a complete different approach? This was the idea that Sonia Nasi set out to answer during her PhD thesis under the supervision of professors Nathalie Busso and Alexander So in the Rheumatology department of the UNIL-CHUV. This project won the support of an InnoTREK grant from the PACTT, so that Sonia Nasi could develop a high-throughput screening assay that would identify novel modulators of the hydrogen sulphide (H2S) pathway.
According to Sonia Nasi “Finding new modulators of H2S in the cell holds an enormous clinical promise which is central to the pathogenesis of several other conditions including melanoma, colon cancer, cardiac ischemic injury, hypertension, type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease”.
“Osteoarthritis is the most common degenerative disorder of the joints and affects more than half the elderly population worldwide”, says Alexander So. “Despite the fact that this disease represents a leading cause of pain and disability, the available treatment options are mostly symptomatic and unsatisfactory”. The goal of the start-up is now to develop a disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug, able to block the etiologic agents or reverse the disease process. This will be done in collaboration with other academic partners, drug discovery platforms and pharmaceutical industries.