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Improving the Prognosis and Treatment of Osteoarthritis with Quantitative MRI

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 20 May 2013
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A new project’s goal is to assess multiple imaging and biochemical biomarkers to find more comprehensive ways to evaluate both the progression of the disease and the effectiveness of new treatments.

The Biomarkers Consortium (Bethesda, MD, USA; Mount Laurel, NJ, USA), a public-private partnership managed by the Foundation for the US National Institutes of Health (FNIH; Bethesda, MD, USA),reported that substantial progress is being made in the FNIH Osteoarthritis (OA) Biomarkers Project, which seeks to improve clinical outcomes for nearly 30 million people in the United States living with OA of the knee and for those at risk for developing the disease.

Preliminary findings from quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) of femur, fibula, and patella periarticular bone area, three-dimensional (3D) bone shape and joint space width show significant differences between patients with progressive OA and nonprogressing control subjects at early study time points (baseline to 24 months) and are predictive of clinical OA progression in the knee over 48 months. This is the first report of changes of defined biomarkers of bone shape being predictive of OA progression and highlights their superior ability to measure early and subtle changes in OA progression compared to traditional radiographic measures. These findings were presented at the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) World Congress, held in Philadelphia (PA, USA), April 2013.

The project, now into its second year, continues on an aggressive stride to investigate further quantitative and semiquantitative image evaluations of bone and cartilage changes in the knee joint by mid-2013. Furthermore, testing on 12 biochemical markers using serum and urine from the study cohort has begun to assess joint tissue metabolism. These biochemical markers can also provide a direct measure of drug effect and mechanism of action to help better refine customized treatments for OA.

The OA Biomarkers Project is being led by two scientists from OARSI, Dr. David Hunter at the University of Sydney and Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus at Duke University (Durham, NC, USA). The project is run under the direction of the Biomarkers Consortium, a public-private biomedical research partnership managed by the FNIH and combines expertise from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and pharmaceutical and biotech companies, academia, and disease-focused nonprofit organizations.

Related Links:
Biomarkers Consortium
Foundation for the US National Institutes of Health

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