Why research matters
For over 75 years, Arthritis Research UK has been working to transform the lives of people living with arthritis.
We fund more research into arthritis than any other charity in Europe. At any one time, we fund between 200 and 300 research projects in medical schools, universities and hospitals across the UK - from Aberdeen to Southampton, Cardiff to Cambridge.
Arthritis causes more pain and physical disability than any other condition in the UK. It affects the daily lives of one third of people aged over 50. Some forms of musculoskeletal conditions can and do kill.
Although major advances have been made, many people do not respond to the new drugs that are available. And with osteoarthritis, by far the most common condition, treatment options remain very limited.
That's why Arthritis Research UK matters so much. We receive no government funding and are funded entirely by charitable donations, in fact without gifts in wills, 50% of our research would not happen. Only by working together can we get closer to a future free from arthritis.
Our current research
Arthritis Research UK is funding research at Cardiff University that could help injured joints to repair themselves using stem cells, the body's natural 'building blocks'.
At present, cartilage repair often fails for reasons scientists don't yet understand. But now research funded by Arthritis Research UK has identified a single protein (aldehyde dehydrogenase) in the stem cell that might be responsible for success or failure.
Over £125,000 has been funded into a project led by Professor Charles Archer, which will hopefully enable easy identification of stem cells which have been proven to be able to produce and repair cartilage, thereby increasing the success rate of cartilage repair surgery.
Understanding osteoarthritis at genetic and molecular level is the only way we will get closer to a cure. How exactly does osteoarthritis develop and progress, and why do some people get it and others don't?
These are the urgent questions being answered by scientists at the Arthritis Research Centre for Osteoarthritis Pathogenesis, located at the University of Oxford, and funded by a £2.5 million grant from Arthritis Research UK.
Good progress is being made already. Last year, the biggest ever study of osteoarthritis genetics, funded by Arthritis Research UK, identified eight more genes responsible for how joints are made and function. Now researchers at the Centre are building on this breakthrough to unlock the next layer of knowledge.
You can also find out more about the Centre in an article from our magazine, Arthritis Today, Our new centre is searching for solutions.
This is why gifts included in wills are so important. Without them, ground-breaking research like this would not be possible. Back to Include a gift in your will
For more information on any of our research you can search individual projects in our Research section, or you can find updates in our News section and in Arthritis Today.