Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis

Disease - Osteoarthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Valerie Sparkes

Organisation - Cardiff University

Type of grant - Centre of Excellence Full

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £1,999,999.47

Start date - 1 January 2016

Reference - 20781

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

The key aims of this centre of excellence is to bring together internationally recognised experts in a number of different research fields (engineers, biomedical scientists, orthopaedic surgeons, rheumatologists and physiotherapists) to apply engineering solutions and basic science to the many problems caused by arthritis.

Why is this research important?

There are currently no drugs available to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, and the only treatment is symptom relief, and ultimately joint replacement. We know that abnormal weight bearing on joints can lead to diseases such as osteoarthritis while normal loading is essential to maintain a healthy skeleton. Working in close collaboration scientists will investigate ways to treat patients at an earlier stage to slow down disease progression, so delaying the need for joint replacement.

This centre will focus on 3 main questions:

  1. Can joint damage be slowed or reversed by altering joint biomechanics?
  2. Are there indicators of rapid onset disease after injury and can these indicators be targeted to prevent the development of osteoarthritis?
  3. Can tools be developed to predict the outcome of knee replacement surgery?

How will the findings benefit patients?

Building on current work, the centre will work to develop tools for targeted treatment and outcome prediction for knee replacement. They aim to develop imaging and modelling tools to improve understanding of musculoskeletal conditions, as well as identify new potential treatments. Treating patients at an earlier stage should reduce the damage to joints affected by arthritis. This centre also aims to develop new methods to prevent repeat injuries and aid recovery in people with joint injuries.