May 23, 2024
Healthcare Workers

Early Detection of Knee Osteoarthritis: Blood Test Predicts Disease Up to 8 Years Before X-ray Diagnosis

Duke Health researchers have made a significant breakthrough in the early detection of knee osteoarthritis (OA), a condition that currently affects an estimated 35 million adults in the U.S. The team’s study, published in the journal Science Advances on April 26, 2023, validates the accuracy of a blood test that identifies key biomarkers of OA, predicting its development and progression up to eight years before it appears on X-rays.

Current diagnostic tools for knee OA often fail to identify the disease until it has caused structural damage to the joint. As senior author Virginia Byers Kraus, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the departments of Medicine, Pathology, and Orthopedic Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine, explains, “By the time knee osteoarthritis shows up on an X-ray, the disease has been progressing for some time.”

The researchers’ blood test, which builds upon their earlier work demonstrating the test’s ability to predict OA progression, offers a superior diagnostic tool. This early detection could be crucial for the success of potential new therapies, as slowing the progression of OA before it becomes debilitating is a key goal.

In the study, the researchers validated the accuracy of the blood test, which identifies specific biomarkers associated with OA. They demonstrated that the test could predict the development and progression of the disease, providing a significant advancement in the field of early OA diagnosis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, causing substantial economic and societal impacts. While there is currently no cure, the potential for new therapies to effectively manage the disease hinges on early and accurate diagnosis. The researchers’ findings bring us one step closer to achieving this goal.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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