Osteoarthritis

Caterpillar fungus could relieve OA pain


A drug from a parasitic mushroom that lives on caterpillars could be an new painkiller for people with osteoarthritis within the next six years, say Arthritis Research UK researchers.

Dr Cornelia de Moor and her team from the University of Nottingham are exploring the painkilling potential of cordycepin which is a compound found in cordyceps mushrooms that is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine.

They will test the effectiveness of the compound, given as food pellets to rats and mice, to find out if cordycepin can prevent pain occurring after an injury to a joint, and also whether it relieves existing pain.

Dr de Moor said that although their research was in its early stages they were excited about cordycepin’s prospects as a completely new type of painkiller. “When we first started investigating this compound it was frankly a bit of a long-shot and there was much scepticism from the scientific community,” she said.

“But we were stunned by the response from the pilot study, which showed that it was as effective as conventional painkillers in rats. 

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