Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a top cause of disability. Also, many people who injure their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), are at higher risk of developing arthritis. In an attempt to learn more about osteoarthritis prevention and treatment, Mayo Clinic is joining an Arthritis Foundation-funded study to analyze damaged cartilage before osteoarthritis sets in. Researchers will use biomarkers and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the joint surface cartilage of patients who have just torn their ACL.
Study co-investigator Michael Stuart, M.D., vice-chair of orthopedic surgery and co-director of the Sports Medicine Center, says, “Many patients, maybe up to one-half, who tear their anterior cruciate ligament are at risk for developing post-traumatic or after-injury arthritis over time. This group of patients affords an opportunity for us to study injured articular cartilage using biomarkers and MRI, then hopefully apply new treatment strategies that can prevent arthritis in the future.”
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Stuart are available in the downloads.
Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician Aaron Krych, M.D., adds, "The hope is that the research on ACL-injured knees will translate to osteoarthritic knees, and that the findings can be used to develop drug therapies and other strategies to prevent or at least delay osteoarthritis."
The project, funded with a $1 million grant from the Arthritis Foundation, also includes the University of California-San Francisco and the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. The research team includes orthopedic surgeons, radiologists and molecular biologists. The study is expected to take several years.