Published Online: Thursday, August 1, 2002

In sports lingo, a ?glass knee? is one that is easily injured. Now, thanks to scientists at the University of Missouri-Rolla, the term may have an entirely different meaning for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sufferers.

Researchers combined glass with a polymer to create a substance that can be injected into bone like caulking compound. It flows into cracks and breaks and then bonds with the bone, creating a strong repair. The same team has also developed tiny biodegradable glass spheres measuring one tenth the diameter of a human hair. These can be filled with radioactive medicine and injected into the RA-affected joint, so that the medicine can be delivered with great precision. Known commercially as TheraSpheres, the product has already been approved by the FDA for the treatment of liver cancer.

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