Regenerative medicine is constantly evolving. IRAP is just another example of its great promise.
-Dr. Damon Noto
You may have heard that NBA’s injured center Greg Oden is going to Germany to get the Kobe knee surgery. He is among a group of high profile athletes that includes Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Gilbert Arenas, Vijay Singh and Fred Couples, who seeks IRAP (also known as Orthokine) therapy for their injuries.
IRAP stands for Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein and has long been one of the successful developments in the osteoarthritis treatment of million-dollar racehorses. This therapy now has been available to arthritis sufferers in Europe and many other countries for over 8 years.
When a person’s joints are damaged due to injuries or wear and tear, there is a release of an inflammatory factor into the joint that greatly increases the risk of long term arthritis occurring. This arthritis-causing factor is called IL-1 (interleukin 1). IRAP is the natural antagonist anti-inflammatory protein in your body that counteracts the destructive effects of IL-1 within the inflamed joint. It competes with IL-1 for the same receptor sites in the joints. Therefore, the more IRAP presents in the system, the less IL-1 harms the joints. It regulates the reconstruction of degeneration and breakdown of cartilage.
When chronic inflammation exists, the effects of harmful IL-1 can be intensified and the balance of cartilage breakdown and repair is disturbed, favoring the side of degradation. IRAP interrupts the inflammation cycle, halting joint pain and simultaneously stimulating the regeneration.
Like PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment, IRAP is derived from a patient’s own blood. About 20 cc blood is drawn using a syringe containing specially treated glass beads. During the incubation period, blood cells interact with bead surfaces, stimulating white blood cells to produce high levels of IRAP and other anti-inflammatory compounds. The blood is then spun down and the substance is injected into the affected sites the same way as PRP.
IRAP helps restoring mobility and comfort to patients suffering from osteoarthritis. It has shown great results in delaying or completely avoiding joint replacement or spinal surgery. It is especially effective when IRAP treatment is used in the early stages of osteoarthritis before the cartilage has been severely damaged.
Unlike conventional short-term treatment, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids, IRAP promotes the body’s own natural healing ability with no side effects and health dangers that conventional drugs may cause. It is also far less invasive and dangerous comparing to joint replacement and back surgery. It is an outpatient procedure and requires no rehab time.
IRAP is not currently available in the U.S. and Canada, but hopefully will be soon.