Issue date: 19 September 2020
New research could signify end of long-term pain killer use for osteoarthritis sufferers
On 19 September 2020 a research team from the University of Michigan will be announcing the initial findings of a project that could lead to early-stage diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The project, funded by the US National Institute of Health, is investigating ways to use Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS), to identify levels of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) within a blood sample. If successful, detection of the disease would be possible before mechanical damage to the knee occurs, eliminating the need for long-term pain management.
The research has been made possible through the development of a new SERS substrate, Klarite. Launched in January this year by Mesophotonics, Klarite enables faster, higher accuracy analysis of biological and chemical samples at lower detection limits. As a result, Gluconate and Glucosamine, which make up the polymer in HA can now be detected.
“Gluconate and Glucosamine only achieve very weak Raman scatters and were impossible to identify on previous SERS substrates,” explains Professor Mike Morris, who heads up the project for the Muscular Skeletal Disorder Unit at the University. “The signals generated by the Klarite substrate are many orders of magnitude more intense than traditional Raman signals, making research projects such as this possible.”
Offering unparalleled levels of reproducibility, Klarite substrates are mounted on standard 3” glass slides, allowing the unique Raman fingerprint in all molecules to be easily and repeatedly identified. Compatible with existing Raman instruments, Klarite has significant implications for researchers in a variety of pharmaceutical and biomedical areas as well as in forensics, homeland security and analytical chemistry.
The initial phase of the research, which is being presented at a Royal Society of Chemistry event on September 19th, will show that there is the potential to develop a candidate for a bio-marker for osteoarthritis. This could potentially enable clinicians to include a test for HA within a normal blood work up.
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