Magnetic Collection of Joint-Level Osteoarthritis Biomarkers

Research areas: 


Diagnosis of early-stage osteoarthritis (OA), a disease stage where emerging  therapeutics have demonstrated potential to reduce and prevent OA progression in animal models, remains a significant clinical challenge. However, OA early-stage detection could lead to interventions and change in lifestyle that would reverse the chronic cascade of joint destruction found in the OA-affected joint. Clinically, OA is diagnosed through radiographs and physical exams, yet these diagnostics are relatively poor at detecting early-stage OA. A significant need exists for technologies that facilitate early-stage OA diagnosis. Therefore, direct assessment of molecular changes within an OA-affected joint would overcome these limitations.  The goal of this project is to develop a novel magnetic nanoparticle-based technique to collect OA biomarkers from synovial fluid without the need to remove fluid from the joint space.

Our preliminary studies demonstrate a proof-of-concept for magnetic harvesting; however, additional refinement is needed to accurately and repeatedly relate the amount of biomarker collected to the initial biomarker concentration in the synovial fluid.

Research Objectives

The objective is to develop an enhanced, quantitative technique (magnetic harvesting) for the collection of OA biomarkers from synovial fluid in vitro. The magnetic harvesting can be described as: superparamagnetic particles with OA biomarker antibodies conjugated on the particle’s surface (antibody-functionalized particles) are injected into synovial fluid to bind biomarkers within the joint space. A magnetic needle is then used to collect magnetic particle-biomarker conjugates, and biomarkers are finally released for analysis.  The influence of the different parameters related will be studied, experimentally and by numerical models, such as antibody dissociation constants, magnetic field distribution around the microneedles, and magnetic properties of the particles. Using these parameters, models that relate the quantity of biomarker collected via magnetic harvesting to the initial biomarker concentration in the synovial fluid will be constructed.

Conceptual schematic of magnetic harvesting
















Non-IMG Investigators: 
Kyle Allen, Jon Dobson
Project status: