The application of Raman arthrospectroscopy for intra-operative mapping of early articular cartilage degeneration

Disease - Osteoarthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Jayesh Dudhia

Organisation - The Royal Veterinary College

Type of grant - Translational Study Full Application

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £99,732

Start date - 7 September 2015

Reference - 21159

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

A device to identify early onset of cartilage damage during osteoarthritis is in its early developmental stages. The aim of this research is to continue to develop this technology towards commercial production.

Why is this research important?

Currently detection of cartilage damage in osteoarthritis is mainly by x-rays which require significant damage to have occurred to the cartilage. Slightly earlier detection is available using MRI scans however this is seldom used due to the cost and also the required expertise of the technician to interpret the results. There is therefore a need for technology to identify the disease earlier.

This research has demonstrated that the changes in cartilage that occur in very early disease can be identified with a technology called Raman spectroscopy. This technology uses laser lights directed at the tissue to scan the molecules in the tissue which provides detailed information on the joint. This is a highly sensitive method which is minimally invasive and non-destructive to the tissues.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This technology will enable surgeons to make an objective assessment of the joint rather than relying on variable assessments from the opinion of the surgeon. The reduced cost of this technology would mean that it could be used as a routine assessment tool to look at cartilage health, which will assist with surgical choice and therefore help patients avoid the trauma of revision surgery as well as reducing costs.