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.