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Rheumatology

Center for Osteoarthritis Research

The Center for Osteoarthritis Research is a major center for research into the causes and treatment of osteoarthritis.  Researchers from Tufts MC's Division of Rheumatology have been national leaders in the development of guidelines for treatment of knee osteoarthritis, in developing innovative ways to measure and assess damage to the knee, and in evaluating methods to treat osteoarthritis.

We helped design, develop, and implement the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a large cohort study of people with and at risk for knee OA in order to better understand risk factors for this very common condition. Over 250 papers have been published using the data generated from this important study.  The data is open to use by other researchers free of charge.

The Osteoarthritis Center currently receives funding for several projects that use data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative including:

Peri-articular Bone Density as a Biomarker for Early Knee Osteoarthritis: We are testing if a knee bone-density scan is a good biomarker for early knee osteoarthritis. If we are able to show this, it could help in the development of an effective disease-modifying treatment for this condition.

Constitutional and Metabolic Factors Associated with the Development of Hand Osteoarthritis: We are evaluating the roles of structural and metabolic characteristics in the development of radiographic, symptomatic, and erosive hand osteoarthritis.

Rapid Quantitative Composite MRI Measurement of Knee Osteoarthritis Structural Progression: This project is aimed at developing and validating a knee osteoarthritis severity outcome measure that can be used with knee magnetic resonance images.

Characterization of Rapidly Progressive Knee Osteoarthritis: We are testing if rapidly progressive knee osteoarthritis, a poorly understood kind of arthritis, can be related to or described by: (i) anatomical features associated with injuries and abnormal loading, (ii) biochemical factors, (iii) certain types of instigating pathology, and (iv) distinct pathological processes.

Development of A Semi-automated Knee OA Cartilage Damage Index:  We are developing a rapid cartilage measuring method that can be used for studies of knee osteoarthritis like the Osteoarthritis Initiative to quickly and effectively measure the amount of cartilage in the compartments of the knee.

Our clinical trials, supported by the National Institutes of Health, have included evaluations of whether vitamin D supplementation affects the progression of knee osteoarthritis, and whether repeated steroid injections into the knee can help treat the disease.  We also work with industry partners to help test new drugs for the treatment of OA and other diseases.

Timothy McAlindon, Professor

Timothy McAlindon, MD, MPH is the Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at Tufts Medical Center and a Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. His expertise includes osteoarthritis, general rheumatology and lupus. He has been supported by multiple grants including several from the National Institutes of Health. His research has been published in prestigious journals and have been influential in guiding osteoarthritis treatment. 

Jeffrey B. Driban, Assistant Professor

Jeffrey B. Driban, PhD, ATC, CSCS is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Rheumatology at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the Special and Scientific Staff at Tufts Medical Center. The goal of his research is to explore novel biochemical and imaging markers to gain a better understanding of osteoarthritis and potential disease subsets. Dr. Driban received his Bachelors of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Delaware. He received a Masters of Education and Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology with an Emphasis in Athletic Training from Temple University. In January 2010, he began a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Division of Rheumatology at Tufts Medical Center where he continued his osteoarthritis focus and learned new magnetic resonance imaging assessment strategies. Dr. Driban also aims to raise awareness about osteoarthritis and promote primary and secondary prevention strategies for physically active individuals as a member of the of the Athletic Trainers' Osteoarthritis Consortium and by serving as the National Athletic Trainers' Association's representative in the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance.

William Harvey, Assistant Professor

William Harvey, MD, MSc, FACR is the Clinical Director of the Arthritis Treatment Center at Tufts Medical Center, where he has practiced since 2008. His clinical interests are in osteoarthritis, scleroderma and general rheumatology. Dr. Harvey also has experience in musculoskeletal ultrasound. His research interest focuses on epidemiology and clinical trials in osteoarthritis as well as clinical trial design. Apart from his rheumatology duties, he is the Lead Physician for Ambulatory Electronic Health Records at Tufts Medical Center. Dr. Harvey also works at a national level on patient and physician advocacy, Chairing the Government Affairs Committee of the American College of Rheumatology.

Grace Lo, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Dr. Lo is an academic rheumatologist who is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine with a faculty position at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.  She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts Medical Center and works closely with the Tufts Osteoarthritis Center Investigators on a number of osteoarthritis research projects, including investigation of the use of dual x-ray absorptiometry technology as a prognostic tool for knee osteoarthritis.  She is also has an interest in exploring potentially modifiable risk factors for knee osteoarthritis including cardiovascular risk factors, psychosocial risk factors and physical activity.  She is also interested in improving outcome assessments in knee osteoarthritis, with a recent publication in press in Arthritis and Rheumatology entitled, “Symptom Assessment in Knee Osteoarthritis Needs to Account for Physical Activity Level.”

Steven C. Vlad, Assistant Professor

Steven C. Vlad, MD, PhD is a practicing rheumatologist and epidemiologist. His research interests have included adverse effects of drugs used for the treatment of rheumatologic diseases, especially glucocorticoids and bisphosphonates, osteoarthritis, chronic soft tissue injuries, and the design of clinical research studies. He serves as the Director of Study Design and New England Baptist Hospital and holds a joint appointment with the Tufts CTSI as an epidemiologist.

Ming Zhang, Assistant Professor

Dr. Zhang received his PhD in Computer Science and has worked on medical image processing research since 2005. His primary professional focus has been clinical and epidemiologic studies of osteoarthritis images. His current research focus is on combining image processing technique and osteoarthritis research, exploring novel biomarker and imaging markers to gain a better understanding of osteoarthritis pathophysiology and potential disease phenotypes. He designed software to speed measure bone volume fraction, bone marrow lesions, effusions, cartilage denudation, and subchondral cyst for osteoarthritis research. He is currently working on two R01 grants focused on the role of bone in knee OA progression. In 2015, He received Scientist Development grant from American College of Rheumatology to develop and validate a fast quantitative method on lateral knee cartilage compartment.

Driban JB, Ward RJ, Eaton CB, Lo GH, Price LL, Lu B, McAlindon TE. Meniscal extrusion or subchondral damage characterize incident accelerated osteoarthritis: Data from the osteoarthritis initiative. Clin Anat. 2015 Jul 6. doi: 10.1002/ca.22590. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26149125.

Driban JB, Lo GH, Eaton CB, Price LL, Lu B, McAlindon TE. Knee Pain and a Prior Injury Are Associated with Increased Risk of a New Knee Injury: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. J Rheumatol. 2015 Jun 1. pii: jrheum.150016. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26034152.

McAlindon TE, Driban JB, Henrotin Y, Hunter DJ, Jiang GL, Skou ST, Wang S, Schnitzer T. OARSI Clinical Trials Recommendations: Design, conduct, and reporting of clinical trials for knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 May;23(5):747-60. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.03.005. Review. PubMed PMID: 25952346.

Driban JB, Hootman JM, Sitler MR, Harris K, Cattano NM. Is Participation in Certain Sports Associated With Knee Osteoarthritis? A Systematic Review. J Athl Train. 2015 Jan 9. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25574790.

Harris KP, Driban JB, Sitler MR, Cattano NM, Balasubramanian E. Tibiofemoral Osteoarthritis After Surgical or Nonsurgical Treatment of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture: A Systematic Review. J Athl Train. 2015 Jun 26. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25562459.

Lapane KL, Yang S, Driban JB, Liu SH, Dubé CE, McAlindon TE, Eaton CB. Effects of prescription nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs on symptoms and disease progression among patients with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015 Mar;67(3):724-32. doi: 10.1002/art.38933. PubMed PMID: 25369996; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4342290.

Harkey MS, Luc BA, Golightly YM, Thomas AC, Driban JB, Hackney AC,Pietrosimone B. Osteoarthritis-related biomarkers following anterior cruciate ligament injury and reconstruction: a systematic review. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Jan;23(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2014.09.004. Epub 2014 Sep 16. PubMed PMID: 25219671.

McAlindon TE, Bannuru RR, Sullivan MC, et al. OARSI guidelines for the non-surgical management of knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and cartilage / OARS, Osteoarthritis Research Society. Mar 2014;22(3):363-388. 

Lu B, Driban JB, Duryea J, McAlindon T, Lapane KL, Eaton CB. Milk consumption and progression of medial tibiofemoral knee osteoarthritis: data from the osteoarthritis initiative. Arthritis care & research. Jun 2014;66(6):802-809. 

Zhang FF, Driban JB, Lo GH, Price LL, Booth S, Eaton CB, Lu B, Nevitt M,Jackson B, Garganta C, Hochberg MC, Kwoh K, McAlindon TE. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with progression of knee osteoarthritis. J Nutr. 2014 Dec;144(12):2002-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.193227. Epub 2014 Oct 1. PubMed PMID: 25411034; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4230211.

Harris K, Driban JB, Sitler MR, Cattano NM, Hootman JM. Five-year clinical outcomes of a randomized trial of anterior cruciate ligament treatment strategies: an evidence-based practice paper. J Athl Train. 2015 Jan;50(1):110-2. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.53. Epub 2014 Oct 16. PubMed PMID: 25322347; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4299728.

Wang C, Iversen MD, McAlindon T, Harvey WF, Wong JB, Fielding RA, Driban JB, Price LL, Rones R, Gamache T, Schmid CH. Assessing the comparative effectiveness of Tai Chi versus physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis: design and rationale for a randomized trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Sep 8;14:333. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-333. PubMed PMID: 25199526; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC4171546.

Zhang M, Driban JB, Price LL, Harper D, Lo GH, Miller E, Ward RJ, McAlindon TE. Development of a rapid knee cartilage damage quantification method using magnetic resonance images. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014 Aug 6;15:264. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-264. PubMed PMID: 25098589; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4126278.

Pang J, Driban JB, McAlindon TE, Tamez-Peña JG, Fripp J, Miller EL. On the use of coupled shape priors for segmentation of magnetic resonance images of the knee. IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2015 May;19(3):1153-67. doi: 10.1109/JBHI.2014.2329493. Epub 2014 Jun 30. PubMed PMID: 25014973; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4439111.

Driban JB, Eaton CB, Lo GH, Ward RJ, Lu B, McAlindon TE. Association of knee injuries with accelerated knee osteoarthritis progression: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2014 Nov;66(11):1673-9.  doi: 10.1002/acr.22359. PubMed PMID: 24782446; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4211979.

Driban JB, Barbe MF, Amin M, Kalariya NS, Zhang M, Lo GH, Tassinari AM,Harper D, Price LL, Eaton CB, Schneider E, McAlindon TE. Validation of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging-based apparent bone volume fraction in peri-articular tibial bone of cadaveric knees. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014 Apr 29;15:143. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-143. PubMed PMID: 24779374; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4021054.

Lu B, Driban JB, Duryea J, McAlindon T, Lapane KL, Eaton CB. Milk consumption and progression of medial tibiofemoral knee osteoarthritis: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2014 Jun;66(6):802-9. doi: 10.1002/acr.22297. PubMed PMID: 24706620; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4201042.

Driban JB, Cattano N, Balasubramanian E, Sitler MR, Amin M, Glutting J, Barbe MF. Saline-assisted aspirations for collecting synovial fluid from noneffused knees: technique and validation. J Sport Rehabil. 2014 Oct 17;Technical Notes(9). pii: 2013-0040. PubMed PMID: 24231733.

McAlindon T, LaValley M, Schneider E, et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on progression of knee pain and cartilage volume loss in patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. Jan 9 2013;309(2):155-162. 

McAlindon T, Kissin E, Nazarian L, et al. American College of Rheumatology report on reasonable use of musculoskeletal ultrasonography in rheumatology clinical practice. Arthritis care & research. Nov 2012;64(11):1625-1640.

Lo GH, Harvey WF, McAlindon TE. Associations of varus thrust and alignment with pain in knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2012 Feb 3. doi: 10.1002/art.34422. 

For more information about our services, please contact:

Mabel Melo
Administrator, Division of Rheumatology

Tufts Medical Center
35 Kneeland Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
Phone: 617-636-5645

Email: mmelo@tuftsmedicalcenter.org