Dr. David Wilson (left) and his team use the Upright Open MRI at VGH to research new treatments and prevention strategies for osteoarthritis.

Tears of relief filled Colleen’s eyes on her last day of physiotherapy for osteoarthritis. Colleen has come a long way. After selling her house because she couldn’t climb the stairs due to disabling knee pain, she is now walking and riding her bike daily.

Osteoarthritis is a painful, degenerative joint disease that currently affects 85% of Canadians over age 75. A projected 1.2 million British Columbians will be treated for osteoarthritis within the next 25 years.

Early diagnosis using the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility’s Upright Open MRI scanner may bring relief to many British Columbians before the osteoarthritis in their hips or knees requires surgery. This MRI is the only research-dedicated scanner of its kind. It captures how joints move and bear the weight of the body, an impossible task with typical MRI scanners, which require patients to lie motionless inside a tube. Research being done at VGH with the Upright Open MRI will help lead to the development of preventive and early intervention treatments.

“This scanner gives us much greater insight into what’s causing the pain and tissue degeneration,” says Dr. David Wilson, UBC Professor and researcher at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at VGH. “If we can use this scanner to see the cause of joint pain, we’ll have a strong basis to design effective treatment and prevention strategies for osteoarthritis.”

Donate and support this pioneering research into new osteoarthritis treatments.