3D Imaging Treatment Plan For Arthritis
An algorithm to monitor the joints of patients with arthritis, which could change the way that the severity of the condition is assessed, has been developed by a team of engineers, physicians and radiologists led by the University of Cambridge.
The technique, which detects tiny changes in arthritic joints, could enable greater understanding of how osteoarthritis develops and allow the effectiveness of new treatments to be assessed more accurately, without the need for invasive tissue sampling. The results are published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Osteoarthritis is normally identified on an x-ray by a narrowing of the space between the bones of the joint due to a loss of cartilage.
“In addition to their lack of sensitivity, two-dimensional x-rays rely on humans to interpret them,” said lead author Dr Tom Turmezei from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering. “Our ability to detect structural changes to identify disease early, monitor progression and predict treatment response is frustratingly limited by this.”
“Using this technique, we’ll hopefully be able to identify osteoarthritis earlier, and look at potential treatments before it becomes debilitating,” said Turmezei, who is now a consultant at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s Department of Radiology. “It could be used to screen at-risk populations, such as those with known arthritis, previous joint injury, or elite athletes who are at risk of developing arthritis due to the continued strain placed on their joints.”
“We’ve shown that this technique could be a valuable tool for the analysis of arthritis, in both clinical and research settings,” said Turmezei. “When combined with 3D statistical analysis, it could be also be used to speed up the development of new treatments.”