Arthritis Researchers Develop New Way to Identify Osteoarthritis Severity

October 14, 2021 (Vancouver) – Arthritis Research Canada scientists have created a new grading scale to measure the severity of osteoarthritis in patients.

“This scale is unique because it measures cartilage damage, the presence of bone spurs and meniscal damage on MRI,” said Dr. Jolanda Cibere, a senior scientist at Arthritis Research Canada who co-led the study. “Using these three dimensions of disease will allow researchers to better determine the severity of a patient’s osteoarthritis.”

The scale is called OA-COM (which stands for Osteoarthritis – Cartilage, Osteophytes, Menisci) and uses Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI).

The OA-COM grading scale will allow research to be conducted within very early or late-stage osteoarthritis, and enable researchers to make conclusions about fine differences among osteoarthritis patients, which other scoring systems/x-ray-based tools do not.

Osteoarthritis is one of the fastest growing conditions in the world, currently affecting about 4 million Canadians. It is estimated that by 2040, 12 million Canadians will be living with OA.

More than 62,000 hip replacements and over 75,000 knee replacements are performed in Canada annually. Osteoarthritis is the main cause.

“This fine-grained osteoarthritis grading scale will facilitate more detailed research and may eventually lead to breakthroughs in treatments and prevention strategies,” said Dr. Eric Sayre, a research associate and statistician at Arthritis Research Canada who co-led this research.

Want to learn more about this important research? Click here to read the full research paper.


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Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Heather Caulder

Marketing and Communications Officer

604-207-4010 or hcaulder@arthritisresearch.ca


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