Andrea Clark

Email Address
[email protected]
Research Description

More than 4 million Canadians have arthritis and the number of people living with arthritis continues to increase year after year. Current treatments alleviate symptoms but do not diminish its signs. My research aims to understand the underlying mechanisms of arthitis to help find potential therapies and interventions that could slow or ideally stop this debilitating disease.

Research Summary

More than 4 million Canadians have arthritis and the number of people living with arthritis continues to increase year after year. Arthritis is responsible for 6% of hospital admissions in Canada and costs Canadians over $6 billion/year in health care expenses and lost work days. Osteoarthritis can involve multiple tissues in a joint and often results in cartilage and meniscal damage, bone sclerosis and synovial inflammation. Current treatments, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, intraarticular steroid injections and joint replacement surgery, alleviate the symptoms (pain, compromised joint function) of osteoarthritis, but do not diminish its signs. A pressing need remains for joint localized therapies and interventions that could slow or ideally stop this debilitating disease.
The long-term objectives of my research program are to:
1) Identify and characterize signal transduction mechanisms through which chondrocytes detect and respond to mechanical and chemical changes in cartilage.
2) Advance our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of osteoarthritis.
In our research, we use genetic and surgical models of spontaneous osteoarthritis (with old age) and post-traumatic osteoarthritis (following injury). We harness confocal microscopy, histology, immunohistochemistry, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and micro-computed tomography technologies to follow the progression of osteoarthritis in a joint and to bring to light the mechanisms by which proteins such as TRPV4, integrin ?1?1 and cilia can influence chondrocyte signal transduction and thus the development of osteoarthritis. Through our studies of chondrocyte signal transduction and osteoarthritis we hope to identify novel approaches for improved treatments of this disease that will relieve the suffering of Canadians living with osteoarthritis.

Techniques Used

We use confocal microscopy, histology, immunohistochemistry, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and micro-computed tomography technologies.

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