In 2016, the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) reported that osteoarthritis (OA) is the third most prevalent condition causing disability globally. Currently, there is no cure for OA, which is the most prevalent form of arthritis both in the U.S. and worldwide. Continue reading Our Reach Expands With Global Osteoarthritis Management
“Patient perspective,” “patient-reported outcomes” and “shared decision making” are hot topics at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2018 Annual Meeting in Chicago. In fact, many patients – including some of the Arthritis Foundation’s patient representatives – are attending the four-day event, which highlights rheumatology developments and draws medical professionals and researchers from around the world.
Donna Dernier, one of the Arthritis Foundation’s Patient Reps, reports that she ran into Hazel Breland, PhD, the incoming president of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (AHRP), a division of the ACR. “She noticed my Patient Rep Sticker and stopped to say how glad she was to see patients involved with so many aspects of health care,” says Dernier.
Besides attending the conference, patients are getting involved in many ways. Four patients affiliated with the Arthritis Foundation exhibited posters during the Patient Perspectives Poster session on Sunday.
Osteoarthritis Center of Excellence Research Story
Over the last month, we’ve kept you updated on the work being done by the researchers in our osteoarthritis (OA) center of excellence (OA COE). The COE is currently funding three Clinical Trial Network demonstration studies that may lead to better diagnosis and earlier treatments for arthritis. Researchers from six different institutions will collaborate in various aspects of these cutting-edge studies. This is the last in a series of three blogs describing these studies.
Most people with partial or complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) develop post traumatic OA (PTOA) within 10 to 20 years after their injury. Unfortunately, current ACL injury treatment options (both surgical and non-surgical) are successful in the short-term but do little or nothing to reduce the risk of developing PTOA later.
All three of the current OA COE are demonstration projects that build on knowledge gained from earlier foundation-funded ACL and PTOA research.
Osteoarthritis Center of Excellence Research Story
Our osteoarthritis (OA) center of excellence (COE) is currently funding three Clinical Trial Network demonstration studies that may lead to better diagnosis and earlier treatments for OA. Researchers from six different institutions will collaborate in various aspects of these cutting-edge studies. The three studies are connected to one another for a common purpose and they build on previous research funded by the Arthritis Foundation. This is the second in a series of three blogs describing these studies. Read the first one here.
Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus is working to identify biochemical biomarkers found in synovial (joint) fluid and urine from post-traumatic OA patients who have suffered anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture. The samples used for this study come from samples collected from a 2013 Arthritis Foundation-funded project that validated using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to measure the molecular changes that begin to occur in joints immediately after an ACL tear.
Urine and synovial fluid (from damaged knee joints) were collected from patients at five timepoints: baseline (less than 4 weeks after the joint injury), during surgery (about 6 weeks after the injury), 6 weeks after surgery, 6 months after surgery, and 1 year after surgery. The analysis of the 177 urine samples and 101 synovial fluid samples will take about 6 months.
The goal of this project is to evaluate which biochemical markers are connected to inflammation and cartilage breakdown following ACL rupture. The team is working to identify which biomarkers are most critical for predicting risk of OA after injury and to confirm the earliest and best timepoints to start treatments.
“With heart attacks, we treat immediately for best results,” explained Dr. Kraus. “We’re hoping to show that the same is true for joint injuries. What is important is the time from the injury to medical intervention. We must treat early to prevent further damage. What we currently see is that about half of the patients who have surgery for an ACL tear eventually develop more serious disease.”
By identifying biomarkers that appear early following an injury and by using more sensitive MRI imaging techniques, researchers hope to identify the individuals at highest risk for more serious joint disease and to determine the “window of opportunity” for providing treatment to prevent subsequent OA. Earlier interventions might include new drugs designed to halt the disease process and other anti-inflammatory drugs, thus reducing the need for joint replacements later and improving the quality of life.
Dr. Kraus was inspired to study OA by her father. Her father, a surgeon during the Vietnam War, damaged his hip and as a result endured 3 hip replacements over the rest of his life. While her father continued working into his 70’s, Dr. Kraus felt frustrated watching his daily suffering and the suffering of her clinic patients. It’s pushed her to want to make a difference and stop OA in its tracks.
“Osteoarthritis is a big and challenging beast -it’s the most prevalent disease in the world,” she explained. “It affects mobility, which in turn affects your heart and many other aspects of your health. We’ve begun to see success in understanding many types of arthritis, but up to now, we haven’t been as successful with OA. It’s so frustrating for me to see the suffering caused by this disease.”
We’re so proud to call Dr. Kraus a Champion of Yes. She explained why she likes to submit her research projects to us: “The Arthritis Foundation has stayed the course in maintaining prolonged interest in finding a cure. It has worked at building on prior innovative research – it’s hard to get funding for these types of studies. The Foundation has created a nimble mechanism for doing this type of research and moving it forward faster. This brings us closer to finding cures for patients more quickly.”
Dr. Kraus, the principal investigator in this project, is a professor of Medicine, Pathology and Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University in Durham, NC. She will be working with other researchers from Duke University, as well as researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in NYC, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Biotech giant Sanofi Genzyme has initiated a voluntary product recall for one lot of Synvisc-One, a brand of hyaluronic acid. The lot, which was found to contain contamination, has been linked to an unexpected increase in side effects. In an urgent “product hold” letter, doctors, clinics and pharmacies who received syringes from that lot were instructed to immediately stop using the injections on patients until the company can investigate.
Continue reading Synvisc-One Injections Recalled
Big things come in small packages, and Dr. Hongsik Cho is very familiar with this phenomenon. When we first introduced Dr. Cho in August 2016, he was beginning work on his 2-year Arthritis Foundation-funded project, “A Novel Method of Detecting and Treating Early PTOA Using Smart Nanosome”. He and his team are studying two things: a new drug and a new drug delivery system. The drug, called TPCA-1, works to prevent inflammation caused by post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). The drug delivery system uses small packets called nanosomes that contain TPCA-1 and a fluorescent dye that illuminates the nanosomes’ path once injected into mice.
Venom can kill, but this research proves it could help do the opposite. More specifically, some chemicals found in venom could act as a treatment for disease. These chemicals come from a deadly reptile, but with the help of Dr. Christine Beeton, venom might be able to better the lives of multitudes of people.
Dr. Beeton and her research team are looking at the chemicals found in scorpion venom as a source of potential treatment for autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Earlier this year, we awarded funding to six scientists for projects submitted that show remarkable innovations and steps towards finding a cure for arthritis and related diseases. For the first time, we included patient input in selecting the projects that showed the most promise and meant the most to them.
About 1 million knee arthroscopies are performed each year in the United States, at a cost of more than $3 billion. Now, in new guidelines, an international panel of experts has strongly recommended against the surgery for nearly everyone with “degenerative knee disease.” Degenerative knee disease is another way to refer to knee osteoarthritis (OA), and includes degenerative meniscus tears, trouble with knee movement and sudden onset of pain and swelling. The guidelines were published in the journal BMJ in May.
What if injured joints could heal themselves before they develop osteoarthritis (OA)? Dr. James Martin’s current 3-year Arthritis Foundation-funded project, “Engineering Endogenous Cartilage Repair,” is trying to do just that- find ways to help joints heal before developing OA.
Dr. Martin and his team use special goats that have defects in areas of the thigh bones and cartilage, just above the knee. This closely mimics knee injuries that are seen in humans. The defects are surgically repaired with a hydrogel matrix that contains two important ingredients: repair cell attractant and growth factor. The repair cell attractant causes repair cells, called chondrogenic progenitor cells (CPCs), to migrate into the hydrogel. CPCs naturally occur in the cartilage. The growth factor, which is time-released over 10 days, causes the CPCs in the hydrogel to multiply and repair the injury with new cartilage.
Continue reading Researchers on the Path to a Cure – Spotlight on Dr. James Martin