The CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis Research (IMHA) awarded Dr. Alex Scott the Ambassadors Knowledge Translation Award for the lay summary of his project, ‘Role of mast cells in tendinopathy’:
Tendons are a kind of connective tissue – tendons connect muscles and bones, allowing joints to move and absorb energy during activities such as sports or manual labour. Tendons often become injured and heal poorly, especially in manual labourers, computer workers, and athletes. Tendon injuries tend to become recurrent and chronic, and for example, can lead to extensive time off work. We have found abnormally high levels of a type of connective tissue cell – the mast cell – in chronically painful human tendons, and also in acutely injured or repetitively strained rodent tendons. This cell type has a well-known role in the allergy response; however, mast cells are also involved in the formation of repair tissue, especially in conditions where there is a chronic or ongoing injury. This project aims to understand the role of mast cells in acute and chronic tendon injuries, including the mechanisms by which mast cells interact with and influence the inflammatory and reparative activity of local tendon cells. This work could lead to new treatments for injured workers and athletes suffering from chronic activity-related tendon pain.
The “IMHA Research Ambassadors Knowledge Translation Award” was introduced to encourage CIHR applicants to write excellent lay abstracts. This award is given to Principal Investigators who submit a superior lay abstract for an IMHA-funded grant or award, and was created to assist with an overall goal of CIHR, which is to foster knowledge translation from scientific research into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system. It is important that researchers be able to communicate their work to a general audience and a variety of stakeholders.