The Keck School of Medicine of USC has received more than $4 million to research arthritis.

Keck school researcher Dr. Denis Evseenko has been awarded a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, and a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Both grants will support research on the development, progression and prevention of osteoarthritis, including pre-clinical research on novel drugs that could regenerate cartilage and slow the progression of the disease.

“Osteoarthritis is a looming public health problem with few solutions on the horizon,” said Evseenko, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery, stem cell and regenerative medicine, in a statement. “We hope to translate our foundational knowledge about joint cartilage development into clinical therapies that would improve millions of lives.”

Osteoarthritis, a joint disorder caused by injuries and everyday wear and tear, is expected to affect nearly 30 percent of people age 45 and older by 2032, according to USC.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.