Earlier this year, the Arthritis Foundation awarded nearly $5.5 million in scientific research funding to 11 individuals we believe showed the greatest promise of achieving a faster cure for one or more types of arthritis. These 11 scientists are working on a wide range of projects all over the US – and we want to share their stories and projects with you. These are some of the brightest minds in scientific and arthritis research and they are working hard to find innovative solutions and a cure many types of arthritis. Throughout this series, we will meet each group of researchers and explain the remarkable projects they are working on.
Say hello to Dr. Hongsik J. Cho, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis , TN. Dr. Cho’s research project is focused on osteoarthritis (OA) and it’s called “A Novel Method of Detecting and Treating in Early PTOA Using Smart Nanosome”. Well, what does that mean? Great question! The purpose of Dr. Cho’s research is to develop a drug delivery system using the very small packets, called nanosomes, enclosing a drug and a fluorescent dye to damaged cartilage. One of the limitations for developing therapies for osteoarthritis is identifying early lesions and targeting the delivery of drugs and biologics locally.
Dr. Cho and this team believe if they are able to send their nanosome to cells in or near damaged cartilage, they will deliver higher concentrations to the areas that need it and may prevent post-traumatic osteoarthrosis, a types of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage around joints wears down. They will test this theory and process on mice near the end of their study to determine if they should move forward with research or testing on humans via clinical trials.
Dr. Cho is very familiar with osteoarthrosis – not just because he’s orthopedic researcher, but because most of his family members have OA. You can tell when he speaks about OA that he’s passionate about it; he wants to help find a cure. Approximately 27 million Americans have OA and because it affects so many people, Dr. Cho believes this is one of the most important diseases to cure. Cartilage tissue does not heal itself – once it’s gone it’s gone for good. Dr. Cho has committed his career to figuring out how we can detect cartilage loss earlier and what we can do to prevent and ultimately eliminate osteoarthritis.
We couldn’t be happier to have Dr. Cho working to help to find the next generation of treatments and solutions for osteoarthritis. When he’s not accelerating scientific progress in OA you can find him at home with his wife and two daughters in the Memphis area where he’s lived for more than 14 years.
Stay tuned for our next researcher spotlight in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can read more about the clinical trials and research projects we are funding here.