The Biology and Pathology of Cartilage and its role in Osteoarthritis
Cartilaginous tissues are characterised by highly specialised extracellular matrices that comprise more than 95% of the tissue. The cartilage matrix contains a sparse population of cells, the chondrocytes, which are responsible for the assembly and maintenance of the tissue matrix. We are investigating articular cartilage ageing and pathology in Osteoarthritis and analysing changes in gene expression that accompany the processes that lead to tissue degeneration. We are developing systems biology approach to analyse transcriptomic datasets from individual patients to stratify OA into subsets based on active disease pathways.
We also have an active programme for new strategies for cartilage repair based on stem cells. We developed a protocol to drive chondrcytes from human embryonic stem cells and from induced pluripotent stem cells and have shown these to form cartilage when implanted in focal defects in animal joints in vivo. The supply of thse cells is being developed to provide clinical grade cells for cartilage repair.