Minimally-invasive technique to check OA damage and repair

2 minute read

Australian scientists are working on a new and improved method for tracking OA treatment progress

Australian scientists are developing a new technique for monitoring the breakdown and repair of cartilage tissue in patients with osteoarthritis.

At the moment, we don’t have a good way to investigate what’s going on at a molecular level in human cartilage.

Common imaging methods, such as MRI, lack molecular sensitivity, which means doctors can’t closely track whether regeneration treatments like stem cell therapies are having the desired effect.

Histology of cartilage is the best method we have right now, but it requires an invasive biopsy and laborious, time-consuming preparation.

A new hyperspectral imaging technique developed by scientists at Macquarie University and UNSW could be the answer.

The technique, outlined in Scientific Reports, is still in the early stages of development but the researchers have demonstrated that it can provide very detailed information about cartilage disease states and treatment effects.

“Using this approach, we were able to identify types and amounts of collagen (collagen I and collagen II) in the cartilage tissue as well as to test for the specific co-enzymes FAD and NADH in the chondrocytes,” said Dr Saabah Mahbub, a research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at Macquarie University and the study’s lead author.

Hyperspectral imaging uses an optical microscope to capture an array of electromagnetic waves much more precisely than what the human eye can detect.

Each part of the image has a unique ‘fingerprint’ in the electromagnetic fluorescent spectrum, which allows for precise, molecular-level identification of damage or degradation of the cartilage tissue.

In the study, the researchers demonstrated a proof of concept using bovine and human tissue samples.

But, in the future, the researchers envisioned that this technique would be available endoscopically and deployable through small incisions to collect complex molecular information on the status of cartilage.

Scientific Reports 2019, 13 March

End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×