The Problem of Osteoarthritis

  • An estimated 20 million individuals in the United States are living with the disease
  • Annual cost is over 15 billion dollars
  • 1 in 20 working age (18-64 years old) adults report activities being limited by arthritis

Current Knowledge About Osteoarthritis

  • Degenerative disease that is characterized by cartilage thinning and compositional changes
  • Preferentially affects older (> 65 years) individuals
  • Primarily affects weight-bearing joints with the knee and hip joints being the most common sites
  • Initial signs of cartilage degeneration are molecular and biochemical changes within the extracellular matrix
  • Changes in joint kinematics and biomechanical load distribution, trauma such as Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury are also implicated, and also considered causal in the initiation of OA.

Motivation and Objective of the CORT

  • Despite the recognition that 3D imaging is likely to provide important information regarding joint health, OA, and that biomechanics plays a role in OA and its’ progression, the translation and cross-correlation of these metrics have been limited.
  • The overall objective of the Center of Research Translation For the Study of Osteoarthritis (CORT) is "to integrate cutting edge quantitative imaging technologies, link the image-derived metrics to joint kinematics, kinetics, patient function, and translate the linkages found to the musculoskeletal clinic, thus affecting patient management and outcome".

Strengths of the CORT

  • A combined team that includes orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, imaging scientists, bioengineers, physical therapists, epidemiologists, and biologists
  • Built upon the strong foundation of interdisciplinary collaborations between the investigators, with a focus on translational research
  • Supported by numerous individual investigator and programmatic grants that have established these collaborative research partnerships between the investigators and the institutions
  • Considerable body of shared authorship and co-investigator affiliations among this group, as well as a cohort of fellows, post-doctoral researchers, and students that have been involved with and benefited from this interaction.

Major Goals of the CORT

  1. To translate promising new imaging methodologies and non-invasive biomarkers from proof of principle, to studies/trials in human subjects and ultimately into widely available clinical tools that directly impact patient care and management of osteoarthritis
  2. To provide the resources and infrastructure necessary for integrating cutting edge quantitative imaging technologies into osteoarthritis research studies that engages basic scientists, biomedical engineers, and clinical scientists enabling them to translate quantitative imaging from the laboratory to the clinic
  3. To develop models and relationships between the quantitative imaging measures and biomechanics and that are relevant to function, not only for monitoring and diagnosing osteoarthritis, but also for assessing pharmaceutical or surgical therapies and interventions
  4. To develop image-processing techniques that provide quantitative parameters that describe the underlying biological processes, and translate these parameters to the assessment of OA, including diagnosis and treatment interventions, and potential stratification and subject selection in clinical trials