Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating disease that affects more than one in 10 Canadian adults – a number expected to rise to one in four by 2040 as the country's population ages.
In this chronic condition, cartilage between bones is destroyed, and the fluid that cushions and lubricates joints breaks down and loses viscosity.
By the time OA shows up on X-rays or even through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), there isn't much for doctors to do except manage its symptoms, which include stiffness and pain in the joints. In many cases, the symptoms of OA – which are often compounded by significant weight gain as patients become less active – get worse over time to the point where the affected joint must be operated on and replaced.
"There's no cure for osteoarthritis," explains Dr. Mohit Kapoor, Senior Scientist and Research Director of the Arthritis Research Group at the Krembil Research Institute. "As of today, there are no approved drugs in the world that can stop this disease from progressing."
This could soon change, thanks to a discovery at Krembil of a pair of biological markers for OA in the spine.
The Krembil Research Institute and the Globe and Mail have teamed up for a special project designed to highlight the tremendous achievements of the science and research programs at Krembil. The first of three magazines in this series looks at the brain and spine program, a second highlights the vision program and a final edition, which is also now available on line, explores the arthritis program.