Since 1990, the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) has awared the Basic Science Award annually. Purpose of this prize is to stimulate fundamental research in the field of osteoarthritis. This year Peter van der Kraan, Dept. of Experimental Rheumatology, theme Inflammatory diseases, has won this award for his work in understanding the role of the growth factor Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGF-beta) in healthy cartilage and in osteoarthritis.
Peter van der Kraan and collaborators were the first to demonstrate that TGF-beta drives the formation of osteophytes and synovial fibrosis in OA joints, 2) found that TGF-beta acts as a protective, load-stimulated factor in a healthy, young joint, but as a harmful factor in an arthrotic joint, 3) that the protective function of TGF-beta decreases in old cartilage compared to young cartilage.
The Basic Science Award was to be presented at the annual osteoarthritis conference that would take place this year in Vienna. The official ceremony has been postponed by Corona. Of course, winning this prize is not a merit of Peter van der Kraan only, but an achievement of the entire Experimental Rheumatology laboratory, in addition to several PhD candidates and post-docs, in particular Henk van Beuningen, Esmeralda Blaney Davidson and Arjan van Caam.
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