University of Southern California Receives $1.69 Million Grant to Study Arthritis
Denis Evseenko, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, received the grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Evseenko along with two other professors, Ebrahim Zandi and Ruchi Bajpai, will collaborate on the research in order to better understand what causes joint cartilage to age and lose its regenerative potential due to the cellular and molecular mechanisms which lead to arthritis.
“Currently, one million Americans have their joints replaced every year due to arthritis, and these numbers are expected to increase as the population ages,” Evseenko said. “Anything we can do to slow the aging process and delay the need for surgery will relieve an enormous burden on our health care system and improve quality of life for millions of people.”
According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis and it is the leading cause of disability in America.
The team will look in particular at a gene called STAT3, which is highly regenerative and very active in fetal cartilage to sort out the precise signals and contexts that trigger STAT3 to orchestrate regeneration in fetal cartilage.