Marina D’Angelo, PCOM – Canine Osteoarthritis

Marina D'AngeloPets are just like any other member of the family, and sometimes they need some specific healthcare as well.

Marina D’Angelo, professor of bio-medical sciences at The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, is working to treat canine osteoarthritis.

Dr. Marina D’Angelo received her B.S. in Biology from Drexel University, and her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology/Teratology (1992) from Thomas Jefferson University. She completed three postdoctoral fellows; New York University Medical School, Pathology (1992-1994); University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine, Anatomy (1994-1999) and Biochemistry (1999-2000); before joining the Anatomy Department at Temple University School of Medicine as an Associate Scientist. In 1999, she was awarded the East Coast Connective Tissue Society’s Young Investigator Award and in 1997, was also the recipient of the New Investigator Recognition Award given by the Orthopaedic Research Society for her research in cartilage biology. In July 2001, she joined PCOM’s Department Of Anatomy as an Assistant Professor and participates as lecturer and laboratory instructor in the Gross Anatomy course.

Canine Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis is not just a concern for humans—the disease affects 20 percent of the canine population as well. A majority of dogs suffer from post-traumatic osteoarthritis, or PTOA, caused by a prior injury such as an ACL tear. It results from imbalance of tissue repair and synthesis in the affected joint.

The current standard of care is pain and symptom management with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDS. But these do not treat the disease’s underlying cause, and their long-term use causes dangerous side effects in pets including GI bleed, kidney failure, and even death.

Through our company, ProteaPex Therapeutics, LLC, colleagues and I have developed an innovative treatment for this disease that lacks the long-term side effects of NSAIDs. Called Extracellular Matrix Protection Factor™, or ECPF-1, it is an intra-joint injection that reduces the pain and damage caused in PTOA by targeting individual enzyme-protein pairs. By targeting specific sites on the protein, ECPF-1 acts as a bumper to block the enzyme from settling on the target protein.

This new class of therapeutic is a novel approach to management of veterinary PTOA that, in preliminary studies, has been shown to be effective in slowing the disease’s progression. In April 2014, we were granted a patent by the US Patent Office for the ECPF technology. 

Through our development of ECPF-1, we are poised to deliver a treatment for PTOA that is safer than available treatments, easy to administer to pets and cost-effective for their owners.

  1. Dr. Lori Ogata Keeler
  2. Dr. Ron Scharf