Background Osteoarthritis(OA) exacts a tremendous toll on patients and society due to limited treatment options and unclear pathological mechanism. Furthermore, rising rates of obese and senior population are predicted to increase the prevalence of OA in the coming years in China. With the development of economy, Chinese government increasingly encourage researches for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases including OA. However, the studies of OA in China remain inadequate.
Objectives This study was designed, in collaboration with Chinese rheumatologists, to investigate key priorities for OA in the next five years to make use of limited funding and resource in China. In addition, it will also help researchers, especially Chinese rheumatologists, to get more support from the government, which will push OA studies faster towards elusive breakthroughs. Therefore, it will improve prognosis and health and quality of life for OA patients.
Methods The study comprised 4 stages, including 1) Identify research priorities for the next five years that match the strengths and expertise of Chinese OA researchers at the OA potential priority-setting summit. 2) Initial ranking of suggested research priorities using 1000Minds software prior to the summit. 3) Discussion and selection of top five thematic priorities from the original list of 10 priorities at the final OA priority-setting summit. 4) Final ranking of five research priorities by all attendees at the summit and design experimental aims and approaches for the priorities. Finally, the top three priorities from five prioritised topics were selected.
Results 39 Chinese rheumatologists attended stage one and identified 10 priorities in the next five years. There were 313 Chinese rheumatologists invited to participate in stage two, among them, 104 rheumatologists finished the process and identified the initial prioritised rankings of the research topics. 29 Chinese rheumatologists attended the final OA priority-setting summit. Through these multistage processes, three key topics about OA were identified as essential and were prioritised. These three priorities include targeting inflammation should be a focus of research in osteoarthritis, seeking biomarkers for osteoarthritis diagnosis and monitoring, research into early OA would be expected to understand OA across disease development and translate to better therapy. Experimental aims included to detect inflammatory in OA pathology, to identify well-established criteria for early OA, to protect and repair chondrocytes and cartilage, and the approaches included longitudinal study, placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial, animal experiments.
Conclusions Chinese rheumatologists identified OA priorities for the first time, and these key topics would have guiding effect significantly on Chinese OA research in the future.
References  Duarte PEREIRA, Elisabete RAMOS, Jaime BRANCO, Osteoarthritis Acta Med Port2015Jan-Feb;28(1):99–106
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Disclosure of Interest None declared
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