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.
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
Trillions of bacteria live in or on your body. There are actually as many bacteria in your body as cells in your body. Fortunately, for most of us, most bacteria that live within us are helpful, not harmful. We call these bacteria commensal bacteria. Dr. Martin Kriegel and his team have been studying these bacteria, and more specifically, a protein that humans and bacteria produce, called Ro60, that plays a role in the development of lupus.
Dr. Rae Yeung believes in collaboration and building networks to solve problems. Her current 3-year Arthritis Foundation-funded project, “Precision Decisions to STOP JIA”, is an example of that. The goal is to develop a tool that will predict treatment response to specific drugs. Dr. Yeung’s study focuses on a group of high-risk children with polyarthritis, one of the most severe forms of childhood arthritis that affects many joints and is difficult to treat.
Continue reading Researchers on the Path to a Cure – Spotlight on Dr. Rae Yeung
This story started with a dozen male research mice survivors from hurricane Sandy in 2012. The storm devastated Dr. Bruce Cronstein’s research lab, but born from the destruction was Dr. Cronstein’s 5-year Arthritis Foundation Investigator-funded project, “The Role of Adenosine Receptors in Osteoarthritis.”
He described the damage: “Our labs were closed for nearly a year and a half. We lost a lot of our animal facilities. However, once a lot of the debris was cleared, we were able to go in and found that some of our mice had survived.”
Continue reading Researchers on the Path to a Cure – Spotlight on Dr. Bruce Cronstein
In February, we reported on Dr. Farshid Guilak’s current Arthritis Foundation-funded trailblazing project, “Engineering New Biologic Therapies for Arthritis.”
Dr. Guilak’s work is published in the journal Stem Cell Reports. The paper, entitled “Genome engineering of stem cells for autonomously regulated, closed-loop delivery of biologic drugs,” describes the research team’s method of engineering (reprogramming) stem cells to become “smart stem cells” that will sense inflammation and deliver biologic drugs where they are most needed. The smart stem cells-biologic drug combination is then injected into an arthritic joint.
Continue reading Arthritis Foundation Investigator Developing Arthritis Vaccine
If you have osteoporosis you’ve probably heard of, and may have been treated with, a class of drugs that are used to prevent and treat bone loss: bisphosphonates. Dr. Tuhina Neogi and her research team are using new methods to look at how the long-term effects of using these drugs may be related to the progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Dr. Neogi’s 2-year Arthritis Foundation-funded project, “Bisphosphonate Effects in Knee Osteoarthritis,” is looking at the relationship of bisphosphonate treatment and the structural changes in the knee associated with OA progression. To do this, Dr. Neogi and her team are looking at how knee joint space width, three-dimensional (3D) bone shape, and bone marrow lesions change in OA patients over time.
Continue reading Researchers on the Path to a Cure – Spotlight on Dr. Tuhina Neogi
What do skin and cartilage have in common? It depends on who you ask. Dr. Veronique Lefebvre, a researcher at Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, is currently working on a 2016 foundation-funded project called “Quality-by-Design approach to create articular cartilage from pluripotency” that connects the dots between skin and cartilage. Dr. Lefebvre and her team are developing a protocol that starts with skin cells and ends with knee cartilage.
Continue reading Researchers on the Path to a Cure – Spotlight on Dr. Veronique Lefebvre
Dr. Jose U. Scher, a current Arthritis Foundation-funded investigator, has been looking at the relationship between bacteria and inflammatory diseases for more than 10 years. Dr. Scher’s current Arthritis Foundation funded project, “Pan-Microbiome in At-Risk Subjects and New-Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA),” looks at the relationship of bacteria (or “microbiome” in the mouth, lungs, and intestines) and the development of RA.
Continue reading Researchers on the Path to a Cure – Spotlight on Dr. Jose Scher
Research on bacteria that live within our bodies has progressed in recent years and is gaining respect in the scientific community. Most of these bacteria live in our gut, and scientists think they shape our health in a number of ways – some good and some bad. Dr. Virginia Kraus is currently researching bacteria in her 2-year Arthritis Foundation-funded project, “The Role of Low-Grade Endotoxemia in Osteoarthritis.” Her project looks at one molecule made by harmful bacteria.
Continue reading Researchers on the Path to a Cure – Spotlight on Dr. Virginia Kraus