7 Mar, 2024 @ 16:15
1 min read

Major breakthrough in treating gout made by scientists in Spain

RESEARCHERS at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) have come up with an innovative way of easing gout.

They’ve patented a treatment based on a molecule found in coffee and cocoa.

Dr. Antonia Costa and Dr. Felix Grases have revealed the benefits of 7-methylxanthine, which increases the solubility of sodium urate and stops the formation of crystals that causes pain and inflammation in the joints of affected people.

The breakthrough comes after a decade of research to find a solution to the condition that affects up to five percent of the world’s population.

The success of the two doctors has its origins in the discovery, in 2014, of theobromine as a substance that inhibits the crystallisation of uric acid, which causes uric lithiasis and consequently gout.

That research, which also resulted in a patent at the time, led them to study substances derived from theobromine- namely caffeine- to stop sodium urate crystallisation and therefore gout.

The UIB says that the pharmaceutical industry has already expressed major interest in their discovery.

It hopes that something will come to fruition with a licensing agreement for the product which will be widely available to gout sufferers as a safer and more effective option to combat this painful disease.

People with gout have to follow a strict diet that helps prevent excessive uric acid production.

At the same time, there are various medicines based on anti-inflammatories to reduce pain, diuretics to increase urine excretion, and medications to reduce uric acid production.

All of these have notable side effects, including increased cardiovascular risk, which makes the UIB discovery even more appealing.  

Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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