The role of the intervertebral disc cartilage catabolites in Modic type 1 changes


Inflammation and scarring of the vertebral bone marrow are often seen in patients with chronic low back pain on MRI. These changes are called Modic type 1 changes (MC1). They occur adjacent to a degenerated intervertebral disc. In most cases disc degeneration does not cause pain. In contrast, MC1 are in most cases a source of pain.

Facts and figures

Project lead
S Dudli
University of Zurich
FOREUM research grant: €200.000

Meet the team

S Dudli
University of Zurich
Prof. Dr. O Distler
University of Zurich


We aim to identify molecules that cause inflammation and scarring of vertebral bone marrow, processes that contribute to chronic low back pain. Once we have identified these molecules and understand how they cause inflammation and scarring of the bone marrow, we will test different drugs that stop this undesired painful reaction in the bone marrow.

Patient voice

We will form a supervising committee with patient representatives from local low back pain organizations and a few key opinion leaders. This committee has the goal to control the translational direction of the project from the very beginning and to help communicate the findings of the project.