The University of Arizona’s Arthritis Center is getting a helping hand in identifying treatments to slow the spread of osteoarthritis.
A five-year, $6.1 million grant was given to researchers at UA by the Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, and will help them continue working to identify key risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis (OA), the structural progression of the disease and ways to prevent OA.
Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that afflicts joints, is the most common cause of disability in the aging population, and the public health impact of radiographic knee osteoarthritis (ROA), in particular, is expected to increase dramatically. OA is the most common cause of disability among the elderly, and involves the breakdown of cartilage, soft tissue and bone that surround the body’s joints. Most often, this incurable condition leads to severe joint pain and stiffness and often pain in surrounding muscles and ligaments.
"Recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have improved our understanding of the relationship between pathology and the structural changes to cartilage, subchondral bone and the surrounding soft tissues of the joint in OA," said the study's principal investigator, Dr. C. Kent Kwoh. Dr. Kwoh is an internationally recognized expert in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other joint diseases, as well as the director of the UA Arthritis Center.
According to a university press release, this study builds on prior work with MRI imaging and will enable the researchers to detect the presence of OA much earlier than is possible with current methods.
"The specific aims of this study are to identify imaging biomarkers of the development of incident ROA earlier in the disease course — and to identify the association of imaging biomarkers with changes in pain, function and performance associated with the onset of ROA," said study co-PI Dr. Ali Guermazi, professor of radiology, section chief of musculoskeletal imaging and director of the Quantitative Imaging Center at Boston University School of Medicine.
Said Kwoh: "Ultimately, this line of research will help to identify key risk factors for the development of OA and OA structural disease progression, and to identify potential targets for preventative and/or therapeutic interventions."
In addition to breakthrough bioresearch being conducted at the Arthritis Center, the University of Arizona, Tucson is home to many prominent and active research departments, including:
- The Arizona Cancer Center
- Center for Applied NanoBioscience & Medicine
- Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research
- McKnight Brain Institute
- And over 100 other leading research facilities and laboratories
As Arizona’s leading research institution, the University of Arizona receives millions of dollars in R&D funding every year to continue work on important life science research. Some key funding stats from UA:
- The University of Arizona provides the state a $2 billion boost every year and employees nearly 15,000 life science professionals.
- UAz received $393,725,988 in research grants for fiscal year 2013-2014.
- 2012 Life Science R & D Expenditures: $295,481,000
- The University of Arizona research funding has increased by $188 million since 2002.
Lab vendors and researchers interested in learning about the latest in biotech and lab supplies at the University of Arizona can attend the 13th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Front Line Event at The University of Arizona on November 19, 2015. This event brings together hundreds of researchers and lab vendors under one roof to network and promote cutting-edge lab products and biotech.
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