First osteoarthritis blood test to be developed

First osteoarthritis blood test to be developed

The first osteoarthritis blood test could soon be developed, according to new research from the University of Warwick.

The study findings could lead to patients being tested early for osteoarthritis and diagnosed years before severe symptoms.

While there are already tests for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the researchers have identified a new biomarker that may allow testing for both osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis at once.

The research team focused on citrullinated proteins (CPs), a biomarker that is believed to be responsible for RA. Previous research has shown that patients with RA have antibodies against CPs, but the same was not thought of OA.

However, for the first time, researchers have found CPs in early stages of OA and RA.

Then, they created an algorithm of three biomarkers: CPs, anti-CP antibodies, and hydroxyproline, a bone-derived substance.

With this algorithm, researchers believe that they can differentiate between OA and RA during the early stages, before joint damage happens.

This is a remarkable and unexpected finding. It could help bring early-stage and appropriate treatment for arthritis which gives the best chance of effective treatment,” said lead researcher Dr. Naila Rabbani.

It has been long established that the autoimmunity of early-stage RA leads to antibodies to CPs, but the autoimmunity, and hence antibodies, are absent in early-stage OA. Using this knowledge and applying the algorithm of biomarkers we developed provides the basis to discriminate between these two major types of arthritis at an early stage,” Rabbani continued

Dr. Rabbani believes that differentiating between OA and RA could mean great benefits for patients.

Detection of early stage-OA made the study very promising and we would have been satisfied with this only — but beyond this we also found we could detect and discriminate early-stage RA and other inflammatory joint diseases at the same. This discovery raises the potential of a blood test that can help diagnose both RA and OA several years before the onset of physical symptoms,” she explains.

The study showing the details of the first osteoarthritis blood test to be developed was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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1. “First Blood Test for Osteoarthritis Could Soon Be Available.” University of Warwick. University of Warwick, 20 Mar. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.
2. “Biomarkers of Early Stage Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Health.” Scientific Reports. Nature Publishing Group, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

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