A drug that is intended to be used to treat cancer is showing promising results in the treatment of low back pain.
In the first studies, the experimental preparation Navitoclas gives results beyond the anti-cancer effect, such as skin cell rejuvenating therapy and the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Its new use targets cells in the spine that contribute to hypersensitivity and pain. These are osteoclasts – large cells that are found on the surface of bones and reabsorb bone tissue. Together with other cells called osteoblasts, these two types of cells are responsible for the development of skeletal structure and bone formation.
When a cell reaches the end of its life cycle, it enters a state of senescence or cell death. When osteoclasts reach senescence, they stop performing their functions. A scientific study has found that when osteoclasts in the end vertebrae of the spine undergo cell death, this leads to the growth of nerve endings – a prerequisite for hypersensitivity. Cell senescence also leads to increased inflammation, which leads to lower back pain.
Navitoclas is a drug of the type senolytics – medications that clear senescent cells from the body. Such drugs are necessary to prevent diseases that occur with advancing age. When it comes to the spine, senescent osteoclasts damage the connective tissue between the vertebrae and the discs, causing new nerves to penetrate – this is the cause of lower back pain.
When the cells are removed from the damaged area of the spine, the pain is significantly relieved. The drug reduces sensitivity to pain and prevents the entry of nerve cells between the discs and vertebrae.
The state of senescence in cells can damage every single system in the body. When cells reach senescence, they cannot divide and perform the function for which they were created. An increased amount of senescent cells predisposes to certain diseases such as osteoarthritis, cancer, atherosclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis and Alzheimer’s disease. In the presence of early symptoms of such diseases, the use of drugs of the type senolyticswhich clear senescent cells from the body, can prevent the development of the particular disease.
Cao, X. (2023, November 14) Senescence of endplate osteoclasts induces sensory innervation and spinal pain. Retrieved 2023, November 16 from https://elifesciences.org/reviewed-preprints/92889v1