Mapping molecular changes within the osteoarthritis joint

Disease - Osteoarthritis

Lead applicant - Professor Paul Genever

Organisation - University of York

Type of grant - PhD Scholarship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £143,062.09

Start date - 1 October 2019

Reference - 22206

What are the aims of this research?

The joint is a complex structure composed of several different types of tissues including cartilage, bone and ligament, as well as synovial and fat tissues. Osteoarthritis occurs through changes to the organisation and function of the entire joint, but the cause of these changes is not fully known.

This research will use new technology to identify and map biological molecules involved in the changes seen in each of the joint tissues. This knowledge can be used to identify targets for developing better osteoarthritis treatments.

Why is this research important?

New treatments for osteoarthritis require a deep understanding of the composition, abundance and location of many biological molecules that could drive osteoarthritis during early stages of condition.

Recent advances in imaging technology allow detailed and high-volume identification of these molecules. This research will use these imaging techniques to map molecular changes across tissue samples taken from joints of mice with osteoarthritis. These experiments will provide a better understanding of how osteoarthritis develops in different parts of the joint, and therefore inform how best to manage or treat the condition.

How will findings benefit patients?

Current osteoarthritis management options do not always address all symptoms and condition progression. In this research, advances in laboratory technology can help us to increase understanding and develop targeted treatments in the future. It may also allow better sub-grouping of types of osteoarthritis, to deliver more specific treatments to suit people with osteoarthritis.