University of LiègeBCRU home page


Research projects


Lab team

How to find us


    The Bone and Cartilage Research Unit (BCRU – department of Physical medicine, University of Liège, Belgium) is highly specialized in the pre-clinical and clinical investigation of drugs used in the treatment of bone and joint diseases. BCRU has an extensive expertise in the study of the pathophysiological events involved in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, mainly in the study of the biochemical factors involved in cartilage degradation and senescence.

    BCRU has developed elegant methods for studying cytokines network, oxidative stress, cartilage matrix repair and degradation and bone remodeling. It is expert in co-culture systems and in the culture of chondrocytes in hypoxic conditions and under mechanical strains (Flexercell system). He has developed an original culture model of osteoarthritic subchondral bone osteoblasts allowing the comparison of the sclerotic and nonsclerotic osteoblast responses to biochemical or mechanical stimuli.

    This laboratory is a member of one faculty center (Center of Immunology) and one inter faculties center (Center of Oxygen Research and Development). By this way, BCRU has access to high technologies such as electron spin resonance, chemiluminescence, real time PCR which are routinely used by experienced researchers. BCRU works in collaboration with the Centre for Trace Element (CART) and has a direct access to all the most recent technologies necessary for proteomics analysis of biological fluids. Recently, BCRU has determined the proteomic profile of urine of OA patients.

    Furthermore, BCRU has a great expertise in the diagnosis and follow-up of arthritic patients, mainly by the measurements of cartilage and bone turnover markers in serum, urine and synovial fluid.  It has been serving, for more than 10 years, as a central laboratory facility, for these biomarkers in multicenter trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or governments. Recently, BCRU has conceptualized, developed and validated four new biomarkers for evaluating oxidative-related cartilage degradation in serum, urine and synovial fluid. It has also collaborated to the transfer of these technologies in the industry. 

    July 2015 : Fondation Arthrose


    Fondation Arthrose is a private fondation born in July 2015 by health professionals, scientists and also patients.

    January 2015 : DBOARD meeting in Budapest

    January 2013 : 100th spin-off of the University of Liège, KIOMED PHARMA (Liège, Belgium), develops patented chitosan-based hydrogel to wipe out arthritis.

    Kiomed Pharma, the new spin-off of Liège University and spin-out of Kitozyme SA, is specialized in the research, development and marketing of a chitosan-based hydrogel with mechanical and biological properties designed to protect the cartilage and promote joint repair in patients suffering from osteoarthritis.

    One of the debilitating factors of osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) is the declining quality of the synovium that occurs with age and joint inflammation. The liquid that is normally present in the joint provides lubrication for the joint and cartilage in order to prevent abrasion. Today there is no treatment to cure osteoarthritis or to efficiently delay its progression. Current treatments are mainly based on alleviating the painful symptoms involved but are unable to restore the cartilage lining the joint.

    Kiomed Pharma will focus on the development and commercialization of a patented medical device designed to treat the arthritic joint by promoting cartilage repair and decreasing inflammation. With support from the Wallonia Region, the creation and development of this patented hydrogel is the result of an on going collaboration, between the BCRU directed by Professor Yves Henrotin, and the company Kitozyme, another spin-off of the ULg, specialized in the development and manufacturing of innovative biomaterials derived from ultra pure chitosan.

    The company is currently in the initial fundraising phase that will allow for the launch of first human trials and the use of two research-issued patents recently received; one from the BCRU and another from a collaboration with Kitozyme.

    How does it work? The patented hydrogel biomaterial, a biphasic chitosan hydrogel, operates by visco-supplementation, a technique in which a product with visco-elastic properties, similar to that of the intra-articular (synovial) fluid, is introduced into the joint via injection. Injection of this biomaterial is designed to therefore compensate for the disappearance of the synovium often acquired with age and inflammatory condition (joint overuse, trauma, arthritis). According to Synolyne's founder Yves Henrotin, the first product marketed by Synolyne SA will be a biphasic hydrogel composed of chitosan gel and viscoelastic beads that will act as a “shock-absorber” on the joints promoting the repair of cartilage lesions and defects in athletes and osteoarthritic patients.


    October 2012 : Start of the European Commission FP7 Consortium, D-BOARD

    The aim of the EU FP7 D-BOARD consortium is to focus on the identification, validation and qualification of novel biomarkers of osteoarthritis

    Our partners in this project:




    Linda Sandell visit our lab on january 23th

    Pleased to meet you Linda! Thank you for your coming!


    November 5, 2010 : ARTIALIS

    The Bone and Cartilage Research Unit creates Artialis, a Belgian company specialized in the research, development and sale of biochemical markers for the diagnostic, the prognosic and the follow-up of musculoskeletal disorders.

    More about Artialis :

     Artialis presentation


    See our posters











Université de Liège            Wallonie           Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique - FNRS

    Laboratoires Expanscience  Intervet Kitozyme

Bioiberica        Zentech          Nestec


Artialis            Synolyne  

 BioXtract     Pierre Fabre   Arthrolab

Haut de la page