Scientists at deCODE genetics have found a new biomarker for osteoarthritis, that outperforms previously reported biomarkers and is an independent predictor of disease.

In a study published in the medical journal, Arthritis & Rheumatology, scientists at deCODE genetics, a subsidiary of Amgen,  introduce a new biomarker for osteoarthritis.
Using SOMAscan platform in a non-hypothesis driven scan of 4,792 plasma proteins in 39,155 Icelanders, higher levels of CRTAC1 in plasma correlate with osteoarthritis severity and predict progression to joint replacement.
The new promising biomarker is the Cartilage Acidic protein 1 (CRTAC1) which not only associates with osteoarthritis diagnosis of hands, hips, and knees, but also predicts progression to joint replacements.
Osteoarthritis affects over 300 million people worldwide. Currently there are no drugs specific for osteoarthritis treatment, mostly because of a lack of a good biomarker that could help diagnose patients, select patients into clinical trials and/or monitor disease progression.
People with higher levels of CRTAC1 in plasma are at increased risk, and have a more severe disease. CRTAC1 outperforms previously reported biomarkers for osteoarthritis, and is an independent predictor of disease. “These results are very encouraging and may provide the first steps towards a good biomarker of osteoarthritis to use in the clinic,” says Unnur Styrkarsdottir author on the paper. “There is still a long way to go with validation in other population as the most important next step.”
„A good biomarker for OA, such as CRTAC1 could dramatically increase the probability of the development of good medicine for the disease that the world is waiting for,“ says Kari Stefansson CEO of deCODE genetics.