The latest exciting research into musculoskeletal disease has been unveiled during the inaugural Northern Lights showcase.
Close to 200 people attended the jam packed event in the Kolling auditorium, including clinicians, researchers and many people living with arthritic pain.
RNSH Head of Rheumatology Professor Lyn March addressed the event, detailing the devastating cost of the disease to individuals and the broader community, with many sufferers forced out of the workforce prematurely.
“Musculoskeletal disease is the leading cause of disability in Australia, affecting around seven million people and costing about $6 billion to the health budget,” Lyn said.
“It affects men, women and children of all ages in many different ways. Every patient will have a different journey, and in many cases, a different response to individual treatments.”
Rheumatology clinician researcher Professor David Hunter described how healthcare is evolving from the world leading research being undertaken within the Kolling Institute and at Royal North Shore Hospital.
“We have a living lab here, developing research and incorporating it directly into clinical care, and improving the lives of those living with these diseases.
“We have strong interactions with scientists and researchers as well as a great knowledge about the best care for musculoskeletal conditions,” David said.
Researchers discussed the value of medication and surgery, while focusing on the long term benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach with evidence-based strategies, such as the Osteoarthritis Chronic Care Program.
Researchers also confirmed new exciting stem cell technology will be trialled over the next few years, where stem cells will be injected into problem areas to alleviate pain.
In the short term however, there’ll be a greater focus on community education, including the use of regular text messages to help patients manage their conditions.
The national Arthritis Biospecimens Bank - A3BC - is also being set up to identify the right treatments for patients, as well as the causes for arthritis and possible cures.
The inaugural Northern Lights showcase was part of a series highlighting the remarkable advances in research and innovation across the Northern Sydney Local Health District.
The next event will be held in the coming months.