Blood Test Finds Knee Osteoarthritis up to Eight Years Before It Appears on X-rays

By Sarah Avery

Duke Health researchers report that a blood test successfully predicted knee osteoarthritis at least eight years before tell-tale signs of the disease appeared on X-rays.

In a study published on April 26 in the journal Science Advances, the researchers validated the accuracy of the blood test that identifies key biomarkers of osteoarthritis. They showed that it predicted the disease's development and progression, which was demonstrated in their earlier work. 

The research advances the utility of a blood test that is superior to current diagnostic tools, which often don’t identify the disease until it has caused structural damage to the joint. 

“Currently, you’ve got to have an abnormal x-ray to show clear evidence of knee osteoarthritis, and by the time it shows up on x-ray, your disease has been progressing for some time,” said senior author Virginia Byers Kraus, MD, PhD, a professor in the departments of MedicinePathology, and Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine. “Our blood test demonstrates that it’s possible to detect this disease much earlier than our current diagnostics permit.”

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