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Women in research: two Rizzoli researchers contribute to an Opinion Paper on Frontiers

February 11th International Day of Women and Girls in Science

February 9th, 2024

Researchers Brunella Grigolo and Gina Lisignoli of the IRCCS Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute were invited by the international scientific community to contribute to the writing of an "Opinion Paper" on the use of mesenchymal cells in osteoarthritis

Dr. Grigolo, director of the RAMSES laboratory, has curated the section about the use of biostampa for materials for cellular therapies. Dr. Lisignoli, biologist at the laboratory of Immunorheumatology and tissue regeneration, has contributed to the section regarding new tissue engineering therapeutic strategies for the treatment of diseases of cartilage and bone.

The article, recently published in Frontiers with the title "Women’s contribution to stem cell research for osteoarthritis: an opinion paper", combines the knowledge and work of more than fifteen experts from research institutes and universities around the world.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common degenerative musculoskeletal disorder  - it is the main cause of chronic disability among the elderly - and a condition with a growth and progression of the disease that differs between different joints. 

It outlines a major challenge for global healthcare systems: the overall weight associated with musculoskeletal diseases exceeds that of other major diseases such as cancer and diabetes, reports the paper.

Women are the most affected by osteoarthritis: in fact 62% of individuals with osteoarthritis are women, the severity of the symptoms being more prone to the peripheral form -hand, foot and knee- and experiencing more severe and disabling pain than men.

The pharmacological treatments currently available offer pain relief but do not stop the progressive degeneration of cartilage, so there is a strong need to develop new biological therapies to prevent or treat osteoarthritis early.

The article highlights the possibilities of using mesenchymal cells in the treatment of this pathology, and illustrates the relevant role that researchers have played in the translation of mesenchymal cell studies into clinical trials, as well as in the development of new studies and new research in the field of osteoarthritis.

Sunday, February 11 is celebrated the "International Day of Women and Girls in Science". It was established in 2015 by the UN National Assembly to invite states, institutions and society in general to "promote the full and fair participation of women and girls in science, education, training, employment and decision-making". The Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute also participates with a strong commitment. At the Institute the majority of research staff is women. Under the guidance of scientific director Milena Fini, 72% of the people employed in research are women (137 professionals). Of the nine research laboratories at Rizzoli, five are under female management. 

Dr.ssa Gina Lisignoli e Dr.ssa Brunella Grigolo
In this photo the two researchers of Rizzoli who contributed to Frontiers Paper: from left Dr. Gina Lisignoli, Dr. Brunella Grigolo


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