Small molecule therapeutics for inflammation-associated chronic musculoskeletal degenerative diseases: Past, present and future

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Inflammation-associated chronic musculoskeletal degenerative diseases (ICMDDs) like osteoarthritis and tendinopathy often results in morbidity and disability, with consequent heavy socio-economic burden. Current available therapies such as NSAIDs and glucocorticoid are palliative rather than disease-modifying. Insufficient systematic research data on disease molecular mechanism also makes it difficult to exploit valid therapeutic targets. Small molecules are designed to act on specific signaling pathways and/or mechanisms of cellular physiology and function, and have gradually shown potential for treating ICMDDs. In this review, we would examine and analyze recent developments in small molecule drugs for ICMDDs, suggest possible feasible improvements in treatment modalities, and discuss future research directions.HighlightsA preliminary definition of ICMDDs is given.Recent developments in small molecule drugs for treatment of ICMDDs are summarized.Future research directions and possible developments in this field are discussed.

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