By 2040, osteoarthritis is likely to be the most common chronic disease in the Netherlands. Currently, almost 1.5 million people in our country have osteoarthritis. The nature and extent of the symptoms may vary, but they always have an impact on people’s daily life. Osteoarthritis progresses differently for everyone, which requires tailor-made treatment. In order to be able to offer this as good as possible, insight is needed into the characteristics of the person and the disease process. Until now, that insight has been lacking. But this is about to change thanks to the funded research efforts of a unique partnership.
In November, researchers from the Interdisciplinary Consortium for Clinical Movement Sciences & Technology (ICMS) will start with the TopTreat project. They will follow 500 people with osteoarthritis over the next five years and will comprehensively map their characteristics. The aim is to gain insight into who qualifies for which treatment. The reason for this is because universal treatment is not effective for everyone due to the fact that the diversity among people with osteoarthritis is quite large.
Measuring and knowing precisely with a unique technology platform
This is the first time that the various manifestations of osteoarthritis are being measured with advanced technology and collected in a platform. The aim is to map extremely accurately how people with osteoarthritis feel, how they move, how their disease develops and which medicine is most effective for whom. Because physical, psychological and social factors all play a role in health, researchers are looking at the whole spectrum, from cell to well-being, and are conducting the study in consultation with the patients themselves. The insights from the study make it possible to optimally tailor treatment to the person with osteoarthritis.
The promise of improvement
The research includes existing technologies such as 'joint-on-a-chip', accurate measurements of substances in the body that are indicative of the disease (biomarkers), analysis of movement with sensors, and making computer models of joint movement and load on cartilage. In doing so, the researchers aim to understand and capture specific characteristics of people with osteoarthritis. Based on these insights, practitioners can determine the most promising treatment for their patient.
Besides people with advanced osteoarthritis, two groups with an increased risk of osteoarthritis formation will also participate in the study. These are people with a broken or removed meniscus or with a leg amputation.
Moving forward together
TopTreat has a significant relevance for the progress of care of people with osteoarthritis. Moreover, the project is expected to develop a technology platform that is patent-worthy, and can be quickly translated into more healthcare applications. With this ambitious project, ICMS aims to maximise clinical and societal progress.
The Interdisciplinary Consortium for Clinical Movement Sciences & Technology (ICMS) is a unique partnership between RadboudUMC, Sint Maartenskliniek, Roessingh Research and Development and the TechMed Centre of the University of Twente. In TopTreat, these partners work together with ReumaNederland, the companies ATRO Medical and Moveshelf, the Rheumatism Foundation Sint Maartenskliniek, the Twente Graduate School and the Dutch Ministry of Defence. Together with funding from the Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation High-tech Systems & Materials, the project involves about EUR 4.8 million.