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£5.5m research centre aims to ease osteoarthritis pain
VITAL research into causes and treatments for osteoarthritis will take place in Oxford at a new £5.5m centre.
Medical charity Arthritis Research UK and the University of Oxford have teamed up to open the facility based at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, on the university’s Old Road campus in Headington.
Sufferers of the joint disease, which affects around 10,000 people in Oxfordshire, have welcomed the centre.
Vic Parks, 68, who has had the disease for 15 years, said: “This should be a real help for people who suffer with the pain of arthritis. It is tough and affects a lot of people.
“At the moment a lot of people get through that pain with painkillers so it would be good if there were other ways to treat it.”
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting around eight million older people in the UK.
It causes pain and stiffness as cartilage around joints wears away.
There is no effective treatment and painkillers often carry a risk of side effects.
Treatment is limited to pain relief, exercise, weight loss, and ultimately joint replacement, but there is currently no effective drug treatment to prevent it getting worse.
Mr Parks, of Bowness Avenue, Didcot, said: “I am having my other knee replaced so hopefully I will be OK after that. “But if I was to get it in my shoulders then it would be good to know that this work is going on.”
The new centre has funding of £2.5m from Arthritis Research for five years matched by £2.5m from the Oxford University and £500,000 from the Kennedy Trust.
Researchers aim to identify people most at risk of developing the condition after suffering an injury to a joint. They will investigate if cartilage has the capacity to repair itself and why people with the condition have pain.
It will have links to the nearby Botnar Research Institute, the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, the Functional MRI Centre at the university and the Medical Research Council Unit at Harwell.
The director, Prof Tonia Vincent, said: “We’re excited about the opportunities this new centre brings, and the collaboration with scientists and clinicians who all want to make a real difference.
“Much of our work will be basic science, but we aim to create a seamless transition, translating lab-based discoveries into benefit for patients.
“Our work has the potential to be moved into patients in a relatively short time.”
Arthritis Research UK medical director Prof Alan Silman said: “Osteoarthritis is not well understood, and we need to understand the basic disease processes if we are to have a realistic chance of finding new therapies. Our new centre in Oxford is well-placed to do just that.”
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