Osteoarthritis (OA) represents a major cause of morbidity and disability, and has been shown to be one of the leading causes of years lived with disability globally. Despite concerted efforts and investments, significant challenges remain in mitigating OA pain and disability. While OA has largely been characterized as a single homogeneous diagnostic category, evidence suggests it is heterogeneous in nature and presentation. This heterogeneity may be contributing to the overall ineffectiveness of symptom treatment generally in OA and our inability so far to develop disease modifying drugs for this highly prevalent condition.
Suggesting that OA is not a single disease entity, I am working to identify distinct subgroups in both clinical and population-based OA samples, with particular focus on systemic inflammation and sex differences. Distinct subgroups may have different etiologies, trajectories, or responses to medical/surgical treatment. Consequently, there would be a need for a more refined epidemiological profiling of OA, possible changes to OA prevention and management/ treatment strategies, and a need to carefully consider subgroups in designing clinical trials.
My work has 4 OA research themes inter-related by sex and inflammation: 1. OA and single vs. multijoint involvement; 2. OA and comorbidity; 3. OA and pain; and 4. OA and the spine.