Certain forms of arthritis can be diagnosed and treated and possibly even cured, The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:
Osteoarthritis : Scientists are trying to locate bio-markers (chemicals in blood or joint fluid) that may reveal cartilage injury. They are also scanning for changes, preceding the breakdown or loss of cartilage in damaged joints. Healthy cartilage holds water tightly, whereas cartilage that is damaged allows water to move through it easily, thereby causing fragmentation and loss. There is, however, a technique that can scan certain changes in the water content of cartilage. allowing doctors to pinpoint the affected joint, at a very early stage. Bio-markers may be used to test for damage, while the MRI technique examines the structure of an individual joint.
As far as treatment of osteoarthritis is concerned, scientists are studying ways to harvest cartilage cells, grow them in a petri dish and inject them into joints to repair damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis: A new technique is being developed to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this kind of arthritis, antibodies from the immune system attack joints, causing inflammation and damage. There is a new molecular biology technique, called micro-array, that can search for antigens (targets) that attack the immune system and help early diagnosis. A small sample of the patient’s blood, containing antibodies, is added to a micro-array by researchers, in order to look for antigens that are targeted by antibodies. In healthy people, most of the antigens are ignored by antibodies. As far as rheumatoid arthritis is concerned, the problem is that antibodies attach to antigens that are found in joints. This proves that micro-array technology can enable doctors to effectively treat RA (rheumatoid arthritis),
There is reason to believe that some day there may be a cure for RA, depending on further research that looks promising.