'Delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage' (dGEMRIC) and 'T2 mapping' are novel MRI techniques to quantitatively measure the quality of articular cartilage. The advantage of these novel techniques is that they are able to detect the loss of important composites of cartilage before damage to and deformities of the cartilage become visible on radiographs or on conventional MRI. These novel MRI techniques can be used to investigate the effectiveness of potentially preventative or disease-modifying therapy at an early stage of cartilage disease, e.g. in osteoarthritis. It is possible that in the future dGEMRIC and T2 mapping will be used in routine clinical practice to diagnose osteoarthritis at an earlier stage and to predict disease progression. However, much more research is still needed. At the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, work is being carried out on the validation, implementation and translation into clinical practice of these and other novel techniques of quantitative measurement of cartilage quality.