Osteoarthritis research at the University of Aberdeen has been boosted by the purchase of a high-tec digital microscope.
Following a fundraising lunch organised by the Zonta Club of Aberdeen in October 2012 which raised £5,500, the University of Aberdeen has been able to purchase a high-tec digital microscope to greatly enhance its osteoarthritis research. Over 300 guests gathered at The Marcliffe at Pitfodels in October 2012 to enjoy lunch and a presentation by Professor Cosimo De Bari, Chair in Medicine & Therapeutics (Clinical), who heads the osteoarthritis team at the University.
The event was was organised specifically to raise funds for osteoarthritis research at the University and Lesley Donaldson, president of the Aberdeen Zonta Club commented "For some years, through its annual charity lunches, the Zonta Club of Aberdeen has supported medical research in Aberdeen into diseases that mainly affect women. Clearly, research into osteoarthritis was high on our list. We are delighted that the equipment purchased through our donation is already being put to good use and hope it will aid in the fight against this debilitating disease."
Osteoarthritis affects around one in six people in the UK. A painful and debilitating disease it causes damage to cartilage and bones which is currently irreversible but a team of scientists at the University of Aberdeen, led by Professor De Bari, are working towards discovering new and improved treatments. With the support of Aberdeen Zonta Club and others, they are studying the possible role of stem cells in preventing or repairing joint damage.
Professor De Bari explained "We know that stem cells in people's joints are able to form new bone or cartilage cells and have the potential to repair damaged joints. Thanks to the generosity of Aberdeen Zonta Club we have purchased a modern digital light microscope, enabling us to study bone and cartilage in much greater detail.
"This high-tec microscope allows the team to look together at magnified images of a specimen that are displayed on the LCD screen. This greatly aids and enhances discussion and interpretation of experimental results amongst colleagues."
Within the next few years the team aim to regenerate bone and cartilage using patients' own stem cells to repair the joint damage caused by osteoarthritis. In addition, they are identifying ways to 'switch on' stem cells already present in the patients' joints to delay or even halt osteoarthritis progression at early stages.
Professor De Bari continued "We would like to thank everyone at the Zonta Club of Aberdeen for this support. Together we can work towards improving treatments for everyone with osteoarthritis."
The fundraising income received for osteoarthritis research is channelled through the University of Aberdeen Development Trust. The Trust raises essential funds to support much of the University's activities such as vital medical research as well as supporting students through the provision of scholarships, bursaries and facilities. Funding from our world-wide family of supporters including alumni, individuals, companies, organisations and the community is essential for the development of osteoarthritis reseach and many other activities.