7. To specify and utilise appropriate pre-clinical development
We have recently developed novel MR imaging methods to identify labelled stem cells inside joints. This technology will enable us to track stem cells in joints in live animals, identifying their fate when given as treatments. We have also used apheresis, a method of concentrating white blood cell fractions, to treat joint surface defects in sheep. These experiments have shown that the use of an apheretic product can significantly enhance healing at 6 months post-injury.
In more detail
We are using sheep as preclinical (animal) models of osteoarthritis and joint surface defects to evaluate and refine cellular therapies that are identified in other work packages (WP) in this application. We are working with WP5 to track labelled stem cells that have been introduced into normal and damaged joints and have shown that we can use new, advanced MRI sequences to detect labelled cells at very low level. We are developing novel remote telemetric methods to track the functional behaviour of sheep with arthritis and examining the results to determine whether telemetry is a proxy for pain. We are also investigating whether central sensitisation occurs in sheep with arthritis