Scientists develop biophysical model to better diagnose and treat osteoarthritis – ScienceDaily

Scientists from the Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University have teamed up to study the unique properties of cartilage in hopes of improving the diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis. The team published a new paper in scientific advances outline their findings.

Cartilage tissue in our knee and elbow joints is only a few millimeters thick, but can be loaded up to 10 times our body weight and will survive a few hundred thousand loading cycles over a lifetime with minimal damage. But tissue doesn’t regenerate by the time people reach adulthood, and cartilage damage can be a precursor to diseases like osteoarthritis. RIT’s biophysics modelers and Cornell’s experimenters studied what happens mechanically to cartilage tissue at the microscopic level in response to shear to drive advances in medical imaging.

“The goal was to find a mechanistic biophysics framework that can make realistic predictions about what kind of changes in cartilage mechanics and function occur during different disease pathways,” said Moumita Das, co-senior author of the paper and associate Professor at RIT School of Physics and Astronomy. “This mathematical model is based on experimental data, so we can combine it with non-invasive measurements like MRIs. With a map of the properties of healthy and damaged cartilage tissue, physicians can use imaging alone to make predictions about when surgical intervention is needed without having to do invasive procedures.”

RIT Postdoctoral Research Associate Jonathan Michel served as co-lead author on the article, and Pancy Lwin, a mathematical modeling Ph.D. Student from Myanmar, also acted as a co-author. Cornell’s contributions were led by Professor Professor Itai Cohen and Professor Lawrence Bonassar.

The paper builds on another recent study published by the RIT-Cornell team soft matter which examines how the properties of cartilage resist fracture and how we can tune artificial materials to mimic those properties.

“As far as synthetic materials go, nobody has come up with anything that compares to cartilage,” Das said. “Understanding the origins of cartilage’s robust and elastic properties can help us design tissues to replace cartilage or create other materials for applications like soft robotics.”

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Materials provided by Rochester Institute of Technology. Originally written by Luke Auburn. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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