Musculoskeletal Disorders

The overall goals of the Musculoskeletal Disorders Axis are to improve our understanding of disease mechanisms and expedite the development of strategies for the prevention, diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal disorders.

Clinical investigators in this axis focus on the study of musculoskeletal disorders, particularly musculoskeletal repair and the biological and genetic basis of bone disorders and bone cancer. Current research projects include identification of molecular pathways of medical conditions affecting bones and joints, such as degenerative and inflammatory joint and disk diseases, primary and metastatic cancer, osteoporosis and axial/peripheral insufficiency fractures, and musculoskeletal development problems like osteogenesis imperfecta, congenital malformations and scoliosis.

Within the axis, there is a strong emphasis on evaluation and treatment of these disorders through translational research into health care delivery – a key ideology of the MUHC. As such, solid collaboration exists between basic and clinical scientists, musculoskeletal radiologists and epidemiologists throughout the MUHC. Axis research sites include the Joe Miller and McGill Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, as well as the clinically oriented Orthopaedic Arthroplasty Group, the Orthopaedic Spine Centre, the Pediatric Orthopedic Group and the Bone and Mineral Unit.

Current ground-breaking research is being done on the development of minimally invasive spine surgery concepts, including robotic science and minimally open technology, as well as investigation of agents that trigger new bone formation. Genetic studies in animal models include gene expression in bone precursors of osteoporosis, candidate genes for osteoporosis, and the interaction of hormones and cancer cells with the skeleton in order to discover new ways of preventing or reversing major bone diseases. The axis is also a site of the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CAMOS), which, along with other epidemiological projects, continue to gather critical information in Quebec on the impact of specific drugs on the skeleton.