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Interactive Research School For Health Affairs (IRSHA), Pune

Osteoarthritis Group


Dr. Abhay Harsulkar (Group Leader)

Osteoarthritis (OA) of knee is a degenerative disease with increasing incidence in India and all over the world. It is associated with restricted joint movement, pain and swelling, which eventually leads to complete debilitation and reduced quality of life. Unfortunately, there is no cure to this disease since cartilage loss is irreversible and its repair is insignificant. At present, patients are assisted only with anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDs.

A unique collection of clinically annotated synovial fluids is established at IRSHA for analysis of different factors such as cytokines (markers for inflammation), glycosaminoglycan (cartilage degeneration product), Matrix Metalloproteinases and Tissue Inhibitor Metalloproteinases which are cartilage remodulation mediators.

Knee joint pain is the main reason for which most of the patients seek medical aid. It has been observed that when patient reach the doctor already much cartilage loss has been occurred and there is no prospect for effective arrest or reversal of cartilage degeneration. Thus, early diagnosis of OA is the need of the time. Present OA team organize ‘Knee-Help’ camps in Pune city and its outskirts with an objective to provide free counselling sessions which includes diagnostics and patient self-management of the disease. Patients with knee effusions are further aspirated to collect synovial fluids. The team has established successful collaborations with renowned orthopedic centers in Pune. At present, we are working to evaluate the effect of Omega-3 supplementation in OA. Anti-inflammatory potential of Omega-3s has been found beneficial to treat many chronic inflammatory diseases like OA. For this, we enroll OA patients from regional senior citizen clubs to create a required patient data-base.

Current Research projects

  • Mapping the biomarkers: Comprehensive evaluation of pathophysiology and nutraceutical intervention for improved knee Osteoarthritis to INNO INDIGO EU MS/ AC and India Joint Call on “Diagnostics and interventions in Chronic non-communicable diseases”. The present proposal meticulously addresses the key events associated with OA pathology using a multi-dimensional approach. The objective is to define early disease-stage new molecular pathophysiology and biomarkers for OA in order to develop new and effective therapeutic options.
  • Cultures and cell lines of synoviocytes has been established in our laboratory and cell based assays has been optimized. These assays are instrumental to study disease specific pathologies including cellular inflammatory and stress. Modulation of key genes pertinent with metabolism of the disease has also been studied. Based on these cell based assays the group has attracted industrial projects, where mechanistic evidences of efficacy of their products are evaluated. These assays also used effectively to investigate anti-osteoarthritic potential of herbal formulations with an objective to develop the evidence based medicines for OA.
  • Helping people with Osteoarthritis: A community level intervention with Omega-3 fatty acids. In the present proposal, we are focusing to study the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids in the management of knee OA on a larger patient base. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are known to regulate bone and cartilage cells differentiation. It is therefore envisaged that Omega 3 supplementation would have alleviating effect on OA.
  • Evaluation of a possible cross talk between TNF-α and TNAP using cell model and clinical findings. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study, which speaks about TNF-α modulated cartilage mineralization in OA using human synoviocytes.
  • Nutragenomics study of nutraceutical formulations. This project is developed in collaboration with TATA-Chemicals Ltd, Pune. The study explores Molecular Mechanism of Action (MOA) of curcumin molecular complexes, specifically in diseases like OA and Type-2-diabetes mellitus using appropriate cell lines and for wellness in general.

Publications: 94

Patents: 12

Ph.D.s awarded :07

Current Team

  • Prof. Abhay Harsulkar (Group Leader)
  • Dr. Shantanu Deshpande (Associate Professor)
  • Dr. Priya Kulkarni (Assistant Professor)
  • Mrs. Soumya Koppikar (Research Assistant)
  • Ms. Dhanashri Ingale (PhD student)
Tender Notice

Notice Inviting Tenders for Floor Model UltraCentrifuge (Due date extended till 9th July 2018)

Conducted free health check up camp for screening of metabolic syndrome:

On the occasion of birthday of Hon. Dr. Patangrao Kadam (Chancellor), and Hon. Dr. Vishwajeet Kadam (Secretary), Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Obesity-Diabetes lab in collaboration with Dept. of Community Medicine, Medical college, Bharati Vidyapeeth. It was held on 8th – 13th Jan 2018 from 10 am to 1pm at Anganwadi hall, Dandekar Bridge.

Blood donation drive:

BVU-IRSHA in association with Rajiv Gandhi ITBT and Bharati Hospital Blood Bank also jointly conducted a blood donation drive on 15th Jan 2018 at BVU-IRSHA. Dr. Sahebrao Mahadik, Georgia Regent University, USA inaugurated the camp by cutting the ribbon. Dr. D B Vani, In-charge of Bharati Blood Bank addressed the gathering and encouraged the staff & students to join for the noble cause. A total of 37 persons have donated blood in this camp.

Celebration of World Obesity Day & National Ayurveda Day

Dr Geeta Dharmatti (PhD Nutrition, Consultant) delivered a talk on Diet in Obesity (Modern Perspective) and Dr Rupali Pendse (M.D. Ayurved) on Diet in Obesity (Ayurvedic Perspective) Ethanopharmacology meeting was held

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