Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


KNEEMO Report Summary

Project ID: 607510
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary 1 - KNEEMO (Prevention and personalized treatments in knee osteoarthritis: an Initial Training Network)

• This report describes the activity carried out as part of the work programme in the first 24 months of the KNEEMO Initial Training Network for knee osteoarthritis (OA)research. This covers the period from 29 April 2014 to 28 April 2016.
• The objectives of KNEEMO are: 1) to provide personalised biomechanical knee models; 2) to enable the timely identification of patients at high risk of developing OA, or with a poor prognosis; 3) to design and evaluate new technology for biomechanical assessments; 4) to develop personalised interventions.
• All 15 research fellow posts were recruited to within the reporting period, with one fellow voluntarily resigning and being replaced by a second candidate for a total recruitment of 16 fellows. Of the 16 recruited candidates, seven are women meaning the equality target of 40% was met.
• In Work Package (WP) 2, anatomy and tissue characteristics, a complex protocol for structural and functional data collection was finalized and approved for implementation by the local research ethics committee in Glasgow with participant recruitment now started. Delivery of structural and functional data sets (D2.1) was delayed due to protocol complexity with contingency measures implemented to prevent knock-on effects. Elsewhere, an algorithm for automated thigh muscle segmentation was developed and validated allowing assessment of muscle cross-sectional area from MRI scans. Muscle strength loss was identified as a risk factor for knee replacement surgery in women, as reported in the first peer-reviewed journal publication to emerge from the KNEEMO work programme.
• Musculoskeletal modelling forms WP 3. A conceptual, generic, detailed knee model was delivered in the reporting period (D3.1). Building on this model, first steps were taken towards individual knee models with the integration of musculoskeletal modelling and finite element analyses.
• Prevention and progression of OA, WP 4, saw work completed on subgroup phenotyping and identification of biomechanical risk factors for development of OA. Five distinct subgroups were identified from within the wider population of patients with knee OA based on a systematic review of the literature. Cohort data analysis confirmed the feasibility of classifying patients into these subgroups using routine clinical parameters. Potential biomechanical risk factors were identified from the literature and were subsequently included in an ongoing meta-analysis to establish their role in OA development and progression.
• In WP 5, measurements, two deliverables were completed: deliverable D5.1 presented a measurement protocol for biofeedback and deliverable D5.5 describes software algorithms for remote sensing of knee joint function. Furthermore, all preparations were concluded for two additional studies on biomechanical load during daily activity and assessment of physical activity levels in patients with OA for which data collection is now underway.
• The final research WP 6 concerns interventions. A systematic review of exercise trials in animals identified a non-linear relationship between exercise dose and cartilage health. Moderate impact exercise is associated with better cartilage health than low- and high-impact exercise, which may both be detrimental to cartilage thickness. The exploratory trial of soft knee braces completed all preparations including ethical review and is currently recruiting and testing patients. A new hard brace is being developed after target product specifications were finalised.
• The training programme was carried out to plan with three network-level training events taking place: one on the epidemiology and burden of OA, the second focussing on generic and complementary skills training and the third centred around the biomechanics of knee OA. Thirteen fellows completed a secondment. The group of fellows themselves set up a regular Skype group meeting for peer-to-peer learning, including journal clubs, progress evaluation, planning of dissemination and outreach activity, and general peer support. Individual learning programmes were initiated covering cultural, scientific and generic aspects of working as a researcher. Most fellows followed a language course for their new country of residence. Scientific training included areas essential to the fellows’ projects (e.g. anatomy and physiology, clinical practice, software skills), and generic and transferable skills such as academic writing, presentation skills, and project management. Fellows involved in primary data collection completed Good Clinical Practice courses.
• To achieve impact in society, dissemination and outreach activity took the forms of a number of physical events attended by KNEEMO fellows and staff; interaction through social media; and exposure in traditional media. A one-day outreach event in Glasgow organised by KNEEMO with six fellows present was attended by 120 primary school children. Additionally, KNEEMO representatives were present at a considerable number of events to present the network. Dissemination of new findings from KNEEMO research has started with two scientific publications achieved and a number of podium and poster presentations at international conferences confirmed.
• KNEEMO is well on course to fully deliver its work programme, with the main results including a cohort of highly skilled and knowledgeable young researchers taking this research field further forward. It will deliver improved understanding of the biomechanical mechanisms at the heart of OA, identify those people most at risk for the disease, enable high-quality measurement of key factors, and provide personalised interventions to improve patient outcomes.
• For more information, see, KNEEMO on Facebook, @KneemoITN on Twitter, or contact

Reported by

United Kingdom


Life Sciences
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