University of Leeds awarded £3.87m to fund knee therapy research

The University of Leeds has been awarded £3.87m by the EPSRC to develop novel testing methods for new knee therapies to treat osteoarthritis and other conditions.

The research at Leeds will be led by Professor Ruth Wilcox, Director of the Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and will aim to develop novel testing methods for new knee therapies that combine laboratory-based simulation and computer modelling to predict mechanical performance and optimise design and usage.    

The grant is part of the £17.7m funding that will develop new technologies to address the health issues of an aging UK population, which was announced by Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson MP earlier today.

Professor Wilcox said: "Through this ambitious programme of research we will develop new testing methods that combine laboratory-based simulation and computer modelling to predict the performance of new therapies and implants for the knee and enable their design and usage to be optimised. Importantly these tests will take into account the difference in patients' anatomy and knee function, as well as variations in device design and surgical technique.

"This will enable different therapies, or different variants of a device or implant, to be matched to different patient groups. We will also use the methods developed through this programme to demonstrate new emerging treatments for the knee including regenerative devices so they can be tested and optimised before costly clinical trials take place."

Discussing the £17.7 overall funding, Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson said: “The UK is a world leader in medical breakthroughs and home to innovative healthcare companies that know how to turn our expertise into good business. This investment will help diagnose cardiovascular diseases, treat debilitating illnesses, and ultimately improve the lives of millions of patients and their families.”

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), said: “More of us are living longer than before. It is vital for us to continue to invest in science and engineering research so we can ensure we have active, healthy and high quality later years. The EPSRC is striving to make the UK a healthy nation and one where research, discovery and innovation flourishes. These programmes will help deliver both of these objectives.”

Main image shows existing experimental simulators for knee replacements in the Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.