Osteoarthritis: New blood test detects early stages, study finds

There is currently no blood test for early-stage osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage that eases and cushions movement breaks down, causing pain, swelling, and problems moving the joint. Now, researchers at Warwick University in the United Kingdom have developed a blood test that can provide an early diagnosis of osteoarthritis and distinguish it from rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory joint diseases.

The researchers, led by Dr. Naila Rabbani of Warwick Medical School, report how they developed the new blood test in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

The test could be available within 2 years, say the researchers. The earlier that arthritis is diagnosed – before physical and irreversible symptoms set in – the better the chances that treatment can focus on how to The researchers, led by Dr. Naila Rabbani of Warwick Medical School, report how they developed the prevent the problem, for instance with lifestyle changes.

The new blood test looks for chemical signatures in fragments of joint proteins (amino acids) that have been damaged, as Dr. Rabbani explains:

The combination of changes in oxidized, nitrated and sugar-modified amino acids in blood enabled early stage detection and classification of arthritis – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other self-resolving inflammatory joint disease.”

Dr. Rabbani notes that scientists have known for a while that proteins in the arthritic joint get damaged, but this is the first time they have looked at them from the point of view of early disease diagnosis.

“For the first time we measured small fragments from damaged proteins that leak from the joint into blood,” she adds.



Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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