Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing

Disease - Osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness

Lead applicant - Professor Malcolm Jackson

Organisation - University of Liverpool

Type of grant - Centre of Excellence

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £1,000,000

Start date - 1 June 2017

Reference - 21987

Public Summary

This grant is jointly funded with the Medical Research Council (MRC). Versus Arthritis is contributing £1,000,000 and the MRC £1,310,418 with extra support from the host institutes.

What are the aims of this research?

The Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) is a collaboration between researchers and clinicians at the Universities of Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield. The centre researchers aim to understand why our bones, joints and muscles function less well as we age and why older people develop conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and muscle weakness. Established in 2012, the centre has been renewed for a further 5 years. During this renewal, the centre has several aims including:

  • Focussing on understanding and controlling the changes to our DNA that occur in the musculoskeletal system during ageing
  • designing and undertaking a series of studies to look at the effect of different treatments on age-related decline in the musculoskeletal system
  • increasing patient involvement in the development and evaluation of the centre’s research strategy
  • extending the CIMA training programme, to increase PhD student and clinical fellow training, as well as development of a master’s course in Musculoskeletal Ageing
  • building a robust evidence base that will enable CIMA to inform and influence public health policy.

Why is this research important?

The number of people in the UK over 60 is increasing dramatically and by 2050 will account for 40% of the population. Age-related decline in function of musculoskeletal tissues (bones, joints, tendons and muscles) are major contributors to loss of independence and reduced quality of life in older people including frailty, with its accompanying risk of falling. Understanding why our bones, joints and muscles function less well as we get older is crucial to improving ways of preventing the decline in musculoskeletal function that occurs in older people and to gaining an understanding of why older people develop conditions such as osteoporosis or arthritis.

How will the findings benefit patients?

The work of CIMA aims to develop ways of preventing ageing-related changes in the musculoskeletal system which will be acceptable, cost effective and sustainable for everyone who could benefit from them. This will lead to major improvements in the quality of life of older people associated with increased mobility, greater opportunity for independent living and a decreased risk of developing clinical disorders of bones and joints.