Biomarkers in OA: A Powerful Prognostic Tool
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the articular cartilage and is known as one of the most common forms of arthritis. OA results in chronic disability in its patients and compels an immense economic burden on its patients. Researchers have predicted that over the next ten years an estimated 67 million Americans over the age of 18 are going to be diagnosed with OA. Statistics like the erstwhile one motivate researchers investigating the pathomechanics of OA. Although pharmacological drugs exist which could reduce pain, they are palliative because they don’t intervene with the pathomechanical cause of this disease instead they merely reduce the effect of its symptoms. Only disease modifying drugs for osteoarthritis (DMOADs) could alter the pathomechanical cause of this disease and therefore provide permanent cures for the millions of patients suffering from OA. However, currently the development of DMOADs is extremely slow because of the lack of dependable biomarkers that can be used to detect early changes in OA. Biomarkers are indicators of certain biological states; they are characteristics which are objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of pharmacologic response to a therapeutic intervention. OA biomarkers assist researchers in diagnosis and assessment of severity of the disease. (Zolg and Langen [345-54])As DMOADs are developed and tested in clinical studies, reliable biomarkers are going to be necessary in order to assess the progression of OA. Improvements in the understanding of the cartilage’s biochemistry have been responsible for the increase in the number of studies testing molecules involved in the OA as biomarkers of OA. With the aid of biomarkers and an improved understanding of the biochemistry of cartilage, researchers studying OA can develop DMOADs which could permanently change the lives of millions of people suffering from the chronic inflammatory disease...
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