31 January 2019

Researchers of the Orthopaedic Research Laboratory of the Radboudumc, together with the LUMC, received a grant of €180k from the Innovatiefonds Zorgverzekeraars for clinical implementation of patient-specific computer models for fracture risk prediction in patients with bone metastases.

Patients with cancer can suffer from bone metastases in the femur. These bone metastases are usually very painful and increase the risk of a fracture. Treatment of bone metastases is based on the fracture risk: patients with a low fracture risk will be treated with radiotherapy for pain management, whereas patients with a high fracture risk are considered for preventive surgery. According to current clinical guidelines, fracture risk is assessed by measuring the size of the metastases on X-rays or CT scans. However, it appears that using this method, there are patients who receive unnecessary preventive surgery, as well as patients who fracture their femur although they were assessed as low risk.
 
Computer simulation
The research team of the Radboudumc, consisting of Nico Verdonschot, Esther Tanck and PhD candidate Florieke Eggermont, and Yvette van der Linden of the LUMC, developed a patient-specific computer simulation that can predict fracture risk in patients with bone metastases. This computer simulation calculates bone strength based on a CT scan, and appears to be better at estimating fracture risk in comparison to the clinical guidelines. Therefore, they received a grant of €180k from the Innovatiefonds Zorgverzekeraars to initiate clinical implementation of the computer model. The idea is that clinicians can order a computer simulation at the Orthopaedic Research Lab if they are unsure about the patient’s fracture risk. They will then receive a patient-specific fracture risk prediction based on the calculations, which can be used in the consultation with the patient to determine the best treatment option.
 
Florieke Eggermont, Esther Tanck and Nico Verdonschot are members of theme Reconstructive and regenerative medicine.

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