The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Oklahoma Sports Science & Orthopedics, is recruiting volunteers with osteoarthritis of the knee to study the progression of the disease.
OMRF physician-scientist Matlock Jeffries, M.D., is a lead researcher on the Systematic Oklahoma Osteoarthritis Epigenetics Research, or SOONER, study. The ongoing research will take place at OUHSC and is open to adults with early moderate osteoarthritis of the knee.
Jeffries’ research investigates the role of the microbiome — the collection of thousands of tiny organisms in our digestive tracts — in the body’s response to OA. He also studies ways the immune system may predispose an individual to OA progression.
The joint disease is the number one cause of disability in the U.S., and its treatment accounts for the largest procedure expense to Medicare annually. Despite this, Jeffries says, the advancement of the disease in people is not well understood.
“The purpose of the SOONER study is to identify biological signs that could help predict the severity of the disease,” said Jeffries, a board-certified rheumatologist who treats patients at OMRF’s Rheumatology Research Center of Excellence. “We’re trying to understand which patients are likely to quickly develop strong symptoms so we can help improve treatment options for everyone with OA.”
Volunteers will undergo a phone screening to determine eligibility. Once accepted, participants will complete visits twice a year. These visits will include blood draws, microbiome sampling, X-rays to examine joint health and a questionnaire. Participants will be compensated based on participation. Strict Covid-19 protocols are followed to ensure participant safety.
To volunteer or for more information, contact the Oklahoma Shared Clinical & Translational Resources center at 405-271-3480 or [email protected]
Funding for the research is provided by grant No. K08AR070891-05 from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health.