Musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis, are global challenges socioeconomically. They are the second most common cause of disability defined as years lived with disabilities. Disabilities caused by musculoskeletal disorders have increased globally by 45% from 1990-2010. Complex etiology of diseases (osteoarthritis and osteoporosis) depends life style, nutrition status, and other environmental factors, but also has a significant and important genetic component. We have developed an advanced three-dimensional imaging analysis technique for studying trabecular bone microstructure. Using this technique, we have identified that Chinese women have dramatically different bone microstructure from those of white women. This intriguing observation has been confirmed with comparison studies in Hong Kong, and independent studies in Australia where Chinese Australians and White Australian women were compared. Therefore, the long-term goal of this planning grant is to establish a Columbia-China Musculoskeletal Genetic Center and to position Columbia at the frontier of Precision Medicine in global musculoskeletal disorders.
The planning proposal will have three specific goals:
- establishing formal collaborations among Columbia, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen, and Human Phenome Institute (HuPI) of Fudan University in Shanghai;
- holding a Musculoskeletal Genetics Conference by inviting leaders in human genetics and musculoskeletal disorders in China;
- forming a joint Center and submitting a Project Grant proposal to Columbia Global Center for assembling the team at three sites and seeking international funding’s to support Center activities.
We have an innovative and Columbia technology that can provide patient’s specific phenome and genetic studies of musculoskeletal system, Precision Medicine. The PI has already secured one of the most important major infrastructural supports, a Mobile musculoskeletal imaging unit, which allows access to everywhere in China. The to-be-developed Columbia-China Musculoskeletal Center will revolutionize studies in musculoskeletal precision medicine at an unprecedented level.