By: 18 April 2012

The Kappa Delta Sorority and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) presented research awards to scientists who are helping to close the gap between basic research and patient treatment and care. Honoured at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), one of the four award winners made recent discoveries in Intervertebral Disc Degeneration Therapy

The 2012 Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award was presented to Xudong Joshua Li, MD, PhD of the University of Virginia (UVA) for the study, “Growth and Differentiation Factor-5 Modulation in Intervertebral Disc Degeneration.”

Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, leads to chronic back pain and is a major health problem in western societies. Current therapies for degenerative disc disease only treat the symptoms of the condition. Dr. Li and his colleagues at the UVA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery identified a potential therapy to prevent or delay the progression of disc degeneration using growth differentiation factor-5 (GDF-5), a protein that plays a role in a variety of musculoskeletal processes, including joint formation and ligament maintenance and repair.

“An effective biological-based therapy that alters the course of degenerative disc disease is needed,” said Dr. Li. “GDF-5 could be a potential therapeutic regent for early and moderate disc degeneration for the future clinical application.”

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