Can we identify biological markers in joint fluid to predict progression of knee osteoarthritis?


Lead applicant – Professor Tonia Vincent

Organisation – University of Oxford

Type of grant - Special Strategic Award

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £449,426.60

Start date – 1 September 2019

Reference – 22473

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This project aims to identify new biological markers of osteoarthritis that can be used to diagnose or predict progression of the condition. The researchers will use samples of synovial fluid (the lubricating fluid from inside the joint), donated by people at various stages of knee osteoarthritis. They will test this fluid for 5000 different biological markers, to look for patterns that separate distinct groups of people with knee osteoarthritis. This could help researcher to understand how biological markers change during progression of osteoarthritis, and if factors such as gender or age influence these markers.

Why is this research important? 

Osteoarthritis is a common condition that causes joint pain and stiffness that can affect people’s independence and ability to work. It can be a debilitating condition and progression of the osteoarthritis can lead to the need for joint replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis often progresses slowly, but this can vary greatly for different people with the condition. This makes it difficult to predict how osteoarthritis will progress or to develop new treatments to prevent it.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This research may identify biological markers that define different stages of knee osteoarthritis. If found, these markers could be developed into a technique useful for clinicians to diagnose the condition and predict how it will develop over time. The technique may also help to predict how someone will respond to different treatments. This information could allow clinicians to suggest the most effective treatment for individuals or help the development of new drug treatments, targeted to a specific stage of osteoarthritis.