Osteoarthritis is one of the fastest growing global health problems affecting over 8 million people in the UK alone. Sufferers experience severe joint pain and mobility problems, ultimately requiring joint replacement. This involves major surgery. The artificial joints rarely restore a full range of movement and, most importantly, they do not last forever. This is a major limitation for young and/or very active people.
Our mission is to regenerate fully functional and pain-free joints using tissue engineering and regenerative treatments in key-hole surgery. By bringing together researchers with specialist knowledge and expertise in orthopaedics, rheumatology, tissue engineering, stem cells and biomaterials, the Centre is creating a unique patient-centred collaborative platform in the UK to link an extensive clinical research base to the scientific research base to provide novel solutions for OA.
The Centre aims to identify the best regenerative treatment for early Osteoarthritis and to consider this in three parts:
- Understanding the best patient group to receive treatment
- Understanding the best treatment to give
- Understanding how the treatment works
Our Centre seeks to treat the condition earlier to allow the joint to last longer. To identify ways to repair the damaged joint, cartilage and bone, we apply the latest research methods from the laboratory to patient care in the hospital. This includes small molecules (like in tablets), materials and scaffolds and cells, both given to the patient as a treatment and as the target for treatments (self-repair). We are particularly interested in understanding stem cells in the patients and finding the best way to use this knowledge as a treatment. From the patient perspective we aim to make treatments easy to administer and cost-effective, allowing easy patient access across many healthcare systems.
In this research we are building on the work we started in 2011, to enhance and implement our clinical treatments (“roadmap”) along with close analysis of therapeutic interventions allowing detailed insight into how they work and so how they can be improved further.
Our ultimate goal is to make regenerative treatments easily affordable, easy to apply and deliverable as a day case without need for a general anaesthetic. The therapies will ultimately be available to all patients without a requirement for specialist centres. Industrial partnerships will also be made to drive the Centre’s research outputs forward into product innovation and patient benefits.