Alberta Osteoarthritis team publishes results in prestigious journal

Jun. 12, 2013

(Calgary, Alberta) June 12, 2013… Researchers in the Alberta Osteoarthritis Team, supported by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS), have made a key discovery in the early detection of osteoarthritis. The team, led by Roman Krawetz, PhD, Bryan Heard, MSc, and Marvin Fritzler, MD, PhD has published their results in the Journal of Rheumatology.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease caused by an injury to a joint or can be due to other factors like genetics or obesity. The research team from the McCaig Institute for Bone & Joint Health at the University of Calgary has developed a test method whereby they can detect those who will develop OA early in the progression of the disease. With a blood test, or by examining a small sample of the synovial fluid from a person’s joint, a lab analysis can identify the markers for this disease, using advanced array technologies. This is the first of its kind in the world. Prior to this discovery an individual with OA would be identified when that person developed the pain and discomfort of the full blown disease. Knowing and understanding that an individual will develop OA early will better equip that individual to manage the onset of this crippling disease, and assist clinicians in developing intervention strategies.

OA occurs when cartilage, the material covering and protecting the ends of bones, begins to wear away. The eventual result is pain, stiffness, swelling, and bone-on-bone movement in the affected joint. According to the Arthritis Society, OA affects more than 10 per cent of Canadians, and is the most common type of arthritis. Joint damage caused by OA accounts for more than 80 per cent of hip replacement surgery and over 90 per cent of knee replacements in Canada.

The Alberta Osteoarthritis Team is comprised of a wide spectrum of experts including research scientists, clinical doctors, nurses, kinesiologists, and rehabilitation specialists who are working to discover better diagnostics and therapeutics for patients while creating common platforms that will inform and prioritize the various mechanisms of this disease and ultimately define the relative risks of disease progression in individuals. The team receives support from AIHS and Alberta Health.

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