Development of a novel 3D culture system to understand bone: cartilage crosstalk in osteoarthritis

Edinburgh Napier University

Active award

Student: David Hughes

Year Award Started: 2018

Osteoarthritis affects more than 9 million people in the UK and is the leading cause of disability. In osteoarthritis, joint tissues (cartilage and bone) undergo structural damage which ultimately produces pain and the impairment of normal activities and quality of life. Currently we are unable to treat those with osteoarthritis, nor are we able to identify those at risk from disease onset as we still do not fully understand the complex mechanisms leading to joint damage. This is in part due to a lack of robust experimental models – current models poorly represent the different cell types in the joint tissues and the interactions between them. Research therefore relies on the use of animal models which are expensive, do not fully represent the human condition and are associated with a number of ethical issues. Therefore, this project will look to develop a new experimental model which will include cells from both cartilage and the bone which make up our joints. By manipulating this new experimental model to represent the healthy joint and the osteoarthritic joint, we will be able to identify the interactions between the joint tissues and what goes wrong during osteoarthritis. This will therefore allow us to better understand the mechanisms leading to joint damage in osteoarthritis.

Research area: Musculoskeletal conditions


Dr Katherine Staines
School of Applied Sciences
Dr Craig Stevens
School of Applied Sciences
Professor Colin Farquharson
Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

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