Honorary Doctors 2018 - A developer of treatments for osteoarthritis

Submitted on Mon, 08/13/2018 - 15:26

Professor of Medicine, Virginia Kraus, applies proteomics in her research

Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences MED

Professori Virginia Kraus
Professor Virginia Kraus’s research aims at starting osteoarthritis treatment in the early stages of the disease before it can cause serious damage to the patient.

Professor of Medicine, Pathology, and Orthopaedic Surgery Virginia Kraus from Duke Molecular Physiology Institute in the United States is a rheumatologist who studies osteoarthritis, the most common joint disease in the world. Kraus, who will become an honorary doctor of the University of Tampere in August, has conducted outstanding research to help treat the disease.

Professor Kraus is involved in leading large-scale research projects that are investigating the mechanisms of osteoarthritis, predicting the progression of the disease, and drug responses. The prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of the disease are important research topics because current therapies cannot remedy damaged joints or cartilage or delay the progression of the disease.

“Specifically by activating the body’s own repair mechanisms, Kraus’s research aims at promoting the early treatment of osteoarthritis before the patient develops severe joint damage,” says Professor of Pharmacology Eeva Moilanen from the University of Tampere.

Professor Moilanen co-operates with Kraus especially in the Osteoarthritis Research Society International, OARSI, an international organisation of osteoarthritis researchers. Professor Kraus has chaired the organisation for a long time. The organisation promotes research on osteoarthritis and drafts international clinical guidelines.

About half a million people suffer from osteoarthritis in Finland. The disease causes pain and impairs functional ability. The pain can be managed by analgesics. Advanced osteoarthritis is treated with joint replacement surgery which is annually performed on approximately 20,000 patients in Finland.

Proteins provide information on the disease

Professor Kraus uses proteomics in her studies. It is an approach in which analysing proteins from samples sheds new light on disease mechanism. Proteins can also be traced for factors that predict the progression of the disease. Proteomics acts as a tool for drug development when it introduces new drug targets.

Professor Kraus has participated in the development of new medicines and is involved in several patent applications that have identified osteoarthritis biomarkers and new drug development targets.

Professor Moilanen, an investigator of osteoarthritis with her research group, praises Kraus’s skills as an educator of researchers.

“She is a positive and well-liked mentor who has also been awarded for being a mentor. Kraus has fostered a large generation of researchers in the field,” Moilanen says.

Kraus is described as a great friend of Finland who knows a few words in Finnish as a result of spending time here as an exchange student.

Honorary Doctor, Professor Virginia Kraus gives a lecture in the Faculty’s celebratory symposium. The title of her talk is: Can We Harness Our “Inner Salamander” to Promote Endogenous Repair of Joints? Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences MED: Arvo, Jarmo Visakorpi auditorium, 16 August at 10-12, address: Arvo Ylpön katu 34

Honorary doctors of the Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences 2018:  
Professor of Medicine Virginia Kraus  
Professor Emeritus Fritz H. Schröder
Professor, Director of CiRA Research Center Shinya Yamanaka