PM.20.014 – Healthy loading to combat osteoarthritis: Leveraging molecular variations in load bearing capacity for individualized movement advice

Route: Personalised medicine: the individual at the centre

Cluster question: 102 How can we develop new drugs and treatment methods that will keep us as healthy and vigorous as possible?

Osteoarthritis. a painful and disabling joint disease, affects over 1.2 million people in the Netherlands. There is no cure for osteoarthritis; Treatment mainly focuses on reducing symptoms. Only after years of pain and discomfort, the affected joint can be replaced with a prosthesis. Patients with osteoarthritis are stimulated to move and stay active. They often ask questions such as ‘How much should I load the joint and when do I load too much?’ , ‘Should I continue loading with pain?’, ‘What is the best way to load?’. Healthcare providers cannot answer these questions and scientists do not understand the exact relation between loading, joint preservation and degeneration nor the differences between patients.
With this multi-disciplinary project we aim to increase our understanding of individual-dependent effects of loading from the patient to the molecular level and translate this into individualised feedback and advice about their movement and exercise scheme for patients with osteoarthritis. To increase our understanding about what happens on the molecular level when the joint is loaded in different manners, we will use multi-scale techniques to connect and translate mechanical loading from joint level to tissue to cell and to molecular level. To understand differences between patients we will investigate how the disease drivers inflammation and genetic variation influence the cellular response to loading. In cohorts and RCTs of patients with osteoarthritis we will investigate how movement type, frequency and duration are linked to pain and disease progression. Individualized tools will be developed and tested to support patients to optimise ‘healthy loading’ of the joint, taking into account the influence of patient-related factors, including social and mental factors on movement and pain sensation.
The project envisions a collaboration between University Medical Centers, Technical Universities, higher education, companies in various areas as well as patient- and sport organisations.


biomechanics, cell models, e-health, genetics, imaging, osteoarthritis, RCT, sport and excersise

Other organisations

others under discussion, Radboud Medical Center (RUMC), Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD), Universiteit Twente (UT)


Organisation Erasmus MC (EMC), University Medical Center Rotterdam
Name Prof. dr. G.J.V.M (Gerjo) van Osch