Using osteoarthritis genetics to restore healthy joint cartilage

Disease - Osteoarthritis

Lead applicant - Professor John Loughlin

Organisation - Newcastle University

Type of grant - Programme Grant Full application

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £1,156,602

Start date - 4 May 2015

Reference - 20771

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Changes to an individual’s DNA sequence can affect the way that their cartilage functions and repairs itself, leading to the onset of osteoarthritis. This study will use the latest discoveries from the arcOGEN study to reveal exactly how these osteoarthritis DNA changes can be used to improve treatments for people with the disease.

Why is this research important?

Osteoarthritis has a large, inherited genetic element, with small changes in a persons’ DNA increasing the risk of disease development. Previous studies have identified specific genes within patients' DNA that are associated with osteoarthritis. This study will not stop at finding the genes but will go on to identify the actual risk DNA changes. These changes to the DNA sequence will then be examined in order to identify the changes that matter most and which ones can therefore be altered to make a more osteoarthritis-resistant cartilage.

How will the findings benefit patients?

The process of rebuilding damaged tissues in joints is a very promising method of treating osteoarthritis. This study aims to remove genetic risk factors from DNA, thus allowing the body to replace damaged cartilage with new, osteoarthritis-resistant cartilage, thereby improving joint function.