Each year, half a million new fragility fractures (including 200,000 vertebral fractures and 80,000 hip fractures) associated with untreated osteoporosis cost the UK £3.5 billion.
Ken Poole’s Bone Research team have been awarded almost £250,000 by the NIHR for their Research for Patient Benefit study, PHOENIX (PB-PG_0816-20027). Research nurse Karen Blesic (second from right), image analysts Daniel Chappell (far right in the photo) and Polly Barnes (fourth from left) have worked with Ken, a rheumatologist, to develop a method for the opportunistic diagnosis of osteoporosis and vertebral fractures ‘behind the scenes’ when patients are attending for routine CT scans for any clinical reason. The technology utilises a picture archive and communications (PACS) network, and ‘asynchronous’ density calibration, meaning that any CT scanner in any hospital can be used to measure density and identify fractures. With pilot funding support from NHS Innovation, the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, the team has already discovered and treated 206 osteoporotic patients as a result of the sophisticated screening programme, from just over 2000 patients screened.