Research and development

Bruxelles Woluwe

Regardless of their occurence, musculoskeletal disorders are a source of pain restricting the patient mobility, and so limiting his/her daily activities and social life. The altered quality of life of these patients lead to a vicious circle of psychic and physical comorbidity.

Several teams of IREC researchers share a common goal of improving patients' quality of life by preserving or increasing their mobility, while addressing musculoskeletal disorders in a variety of ways.

1. Anatomo-functional and psycho-social assessment of the patient – NMSK Pole

We have developed a standardized, reproducible battery of tests to quantify the physical disorders of patients (loss of mobility, strength, muscle stiffness, pain, etc.).

We look at the impact of these disorders on the daily activities of the patients like the locomotion for example. We evaluate neuro-musculoskeletal disorders in the upper, lower, trunk, neck and face. We are evaluating patients with neurological problems such as stroke patients, children with cerebral palsy, Parkinson's patients and those with multiple sclerosis. We are also evaluating patients with orthopedic conditions such as severe hip or knee osteoarthritis, scoliosis, or patients with low back or neck pain. This functional assessment is part of personalized medicine and aims to refine the diagnosis, improve the patient management and also target, plan and assess the most appropriate treatment. The tools include a three-dimensional platform for motion analysis, multibody modeling, robotic neurorehabilitation, and accuracy assessment of computer-assisted surgical assistance.

2. The movement at the service of the lung - PNEU Pole, Physio group

The work of our group evaluates:

  • the physical capacity of the child and the adult, healthy or sick
  • the influence of factors such as music, type of exercise and addition of new exercises on the pulmonary rehabilitation of patients with chronic respiratory diseases
  • the methods of decluttering in patients with cystic fibrosis or other secreting diseases
  • the pulmonary and sinus deposition of aerosolized particles by in vitro and in vivo measurements (pharmacokinetic and medical imaging studies) under various conditions: spontaneous breathing, mechanical ventilation or tracheotomized patients vs healthy subjects.
  • dysphagia in neuromuscular patients
  • routes of administration of oxygen

3. Skeletal Tissues: Pathophysiology and Therapeutic Trials - MORF Pole

  • Osteogenesis imperfect (Oi), or glass bone disease, is a congenital disorder resulting from an impairment of type I collagen, resulting in small size and numerous bone fractures and deformities. Bone formation can be stimulated by activating the Wnt pathway via an anti-sclerostine antibody. This antibody is administered to oim mice, an animal model for the OI, in order to evaluate the effect on the bone capital and skeletal architecture. The oim mice are also crossed with KO mice for cathepsin K, the bone resorption enzyme in order to increase the bone mass and reduce the number of fractures.
  • Hyaluronidase PH20 is an enzyme responsible for the physiological destruction of the cartilaginous matrix whose expression increases in cultured interleukin 1 (an inflammatory factor) stimulated-chondrocytes. The experiments  aim at defining whether PH20 plays a protective role against the  osteoarthritis. Induction of osteoarthritis by section of the cruciate ligament leads to an increase in subchondral bone remodeling in PH20 KO mice compared to control mice, suggesting a role for PH20 in the early phase of osteoarthritis.
  • Dental implants, whose success is recognized, may nevertheless present inflammatory complications in the surrounding tissues similarly to periodontitis, threatening so the survival of the implant. This parimplantitis, cause the organization of oral bacteria in a biofilm. We analyze the interactions between the biofilm and the implant and investigate the effects of implant surface treatments on the biofilm survival and the quality of osseointegration.