Prevention and early treatment of osteoarthritis

This is the longest running multidisciplinary research line of the department (25 years) spanning from cell to patient to population. Osteoarthritis is a chronic, common joint diseases, characterised by degeneration of cartilage and all joint structures,  and leading to pain and disabilities. Approximately 1.5 million people in the Netherlands suffer from osteoarthritis. In the coming years, osteoarthritis will be the most common chronic disease in the Netherlands. There is currently no treatment to cure or halt the disease. Treatment is based on reducing symptoms and the final treatment option is to replace the joint with a prosthesis. We aim to develop methods to prevent osteoarthritis and to develop effective treatments in early phase of the disease to prevent total joint destruction. 
This research line focuses on:

•    long-term clinical cohort studies and population-based studies investigating osteoarthritis development, including identifying risk factors and high-risk subgroups.   
•    the effect of surgery to correct joint malalignment and instabilities to enhance mobility, improve pain, and prevent progression of osteoarthritis.
•    cellular mechanisms and inflammation in osteoarthritis development using in vitro and small animal models.
•    repair/regeneration of cartilage and underlying bone defects using biomaterials, stem cells and growth factors.
•    the influence of mechanical loading and genetic variation at cellular, patient and population levels.


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