Detecting Osteoarthritis Earlier May Enable Better Treatment

A new test developed by researchers at the University of Warwick, UK, may provide a significant advance in clinicians’ ability to detect and diagnose osteoarthritis (OA), both by enabling much earlier identification of the condition, and in distinguishing early-stage OA from early stage rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory joint diseases. This advanced diagnosis would permit the deployment of appropriate treatments before the onset of irreversible symptoms, improving patient outcomes and possibly enabling disease prevention according to the researchers. The team reported on their findings in Arthritis Research and Therapy.

The new lab test identifies chemical signatures in the plasma of blood joint proteins that have been damaged or modified by oxidation, nitration, and glycation. The study compared plasma and synovial fluids from patients with early and advanced OA and RA to samples from a healthy control group, and found much higher levels of damaged proteins in the fluids of the affected cohort. Lead author Naila Rabbani, PhD, of Warwick Medical School, asserted, “Damage to proteins in the arthritic joint have been known for many years but this is the first time it has been exploited for early-stage diagnosis. This is a big step forward for early-stage detection of arthritis that will help start treatment early and prevent painful and debilitating disease.”

Read more about this new diagnostic advance here.

The journal article may be read here.

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