Degenerative joint disease, also known as arthritis, is an inflammatory condition characterized by an imbalance in which cartilage is broken down faster than it can be repaired or maintained by the body. The inflammatory process causes pain through distension of the sensitive joint capsule, and also accelerates the break down process of cartilage through small proteins called inflammatory mediators. One of the most important inflammatory mediators identified is Interleukin-1 (IL-1).
Interleukin Receptor Antagonist Protein (IRAP) is a relatively new therapy that has been developed to treat joint inflammation. This key protein prevents IL-1 from binding to cells within the joint and exerting its degradative effects. IRAP is an autologous therapy, meaning the product originates from the patient’s own body. The process starts by collecting a sterile sample of blood from the horse. The blood is then incubated for 24 hours with medical grade glass beads to stimulate the white blood cells to produce IRAP. The serum containing IRAP is separated from the blood cells by centrifugation, and then filtered into 3 to 5 treatment doses. The IRAP samples can then be injected into the affected joint immediately, or frozen and administered as future treatments. Treatments are typically given several weeks apart or on an as needed basis. IRAP treatment is indicated for treatment of synovitis, arthritis, bursitis, and/or tenosynovitis.