CHHM's Erin Macri wins Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for her research that focuses on developing new and cost-effective strategies for treating knee Osteoarthritis
|CHHM's Erin Macri is one of 13 students from UBC to receive the 2014 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship in the CIHR stream|
Osteoarthritis (OA or joint 'wear and tear') is the most common type of arthritis, and knee OA affects almost 40% of North Americans, 1/3 of whom are symptomatic. Research and medical care has traditionally focused on the part of the knee where the thigh bone sits on top of the shin, called the 'tibiofemoral joint'. However, OA also affects the ‘patellofemoral joint’, where the knee cap connects to the lower thigh. In fact, OA of the knee cap causes more pain and disability than the rest of the knee, and over time progresses to affecting the entire knee. Almost 70% of adults over 50 who report knee pain have knee OA on X-ray, and up to 96% of them have involvement of the knee cap. Therefore, OA at this joint is more common and clinically important than previously recognized.
Poor alignment of the knee cap is believed to be a major cause of OA onset and progression. Macri aims to investigate the role of alignment in knees with patellofemoral OA using an innovative MRI instrument at UBC. This scanner is the only one of its kind being used for research purposes worldwide and is capable of measuring knee alignment in people standing up. This means they are fully weight bearing the way they would be in the real world when they actually experience pain. The results will contribute to developing new and cost-effective strategies for treating knee OA that can be easily adopted within our current health care delivery model. The long term goal of this research is to alter the trajectory of this disabling disease for Canadians, enabling better health and quality of life.
Macri's research is enabled by the prestigeous Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program. The program seeks to help Canada's universities attract sought-after doctoral students from across Canada and around the world.