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Understanding intervertebral disc degeneration for new therapeutic strategies
An estimated 80% of the population worldwide will suffer from back pain at some point during life, a condition that interferes with normal activities and diminishes the quality of life. In addition to causing much suffering of individuals, it also exerts an enormous burden on society as the direct and indirect costs amount for billions annually in Europe. Although back pain is multi-factorial, it is established that the primary cause is disc degeneration, involved in at least 39% of chronic back pain cases. Current clinical treatments aim to immobilize (by spinal fusion) or replace (using disc prosthesis) the degenerated disc in order to alleviate pain but fail to heal the disc. Moreover, they may accelerate the degenerative process in adjacent discs by altering further the biomechanics of the spine (adjacent segment disease). Availability of novel therapies which successfully reverse the degenerative process will considerably change the patient’s clinical outcome.
Intervertebral disc structure and composition.
The B2OA, therefore, aims to better understand the degenerative processes and identify new therapeutic strategies for disc regeneration.
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