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Arthritis Research UK Experimental Osteoarthritis Treatment Centre - Leeds

Award Details

  • Principal Investigator
    Professor Philip Conaghan
  • Type of grant
    Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre
  • Amount Awarded
  • Institute
    University of Leeds
  • Location
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • Grant reference number
  • Condition

What are the aims of this research?

The long term aims of the Leeds EOTC are to address three key questions:

  • Can we find new and better ways to control osteoarthritis (OA) joint pain?
  • Can we reduce the demand for joint surgery or find ways to delay joint surgery?
  • Can we improve patient acceptance of biomechanical interventions?

In order to address these aims we will carry out a programme of work that will focus on a series of more specific questions. These will include:

  • Are foot orthoses (shoe inserts) helpful to people with midfoot pain?
  • What is the relationship between ankle injury and chronic ankle osteoarthritis (OA)? Can we improve treatment of ankle injuries to prevent development of OA?
  • Does the use of a modern, lightweight knee brace slow progression of knee OA, reduce pain and improve function?
  • Can we use medical imaging to identify OA patients who are likely to progress more quickly or who are more likely to benefit from a particular treatment?

Why is this research important?

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects approximately 8 million people in the UK. This number has increased 2-4 fold over the last 20 years, and will become even larger as the UK population grows older. More than two thirds of people with OA have constant pain that affects their ability to perform normal daily activities, partly due to the limited treatment options currently available for OA. OA also places an enormous burden on health services and economies, due to both medical costs and absence from work as a result of OA. There is therefore an urgent need to find new OA treatment strategies, particularly aimed at treating people early and preventing people with OA from becoming chronically disabled.

The Arthritis Research UK award for an Experimental Osteoarthritis Treatment Centre in Leeds will support high quality research to identify, test and develop such treatment options. The Leeds EOTC brings together a highly experienced team of researchers within a unique clinical research environment. Researchers within the EOTC will study the effectiveness of new biomechanical interventions (such as knee braces) in people with OA and will develop strategies to identify the patients who are most likely to benefit from particular treatments. These studies have the potential to significantly benefit people with OA by reducing pain and slowing OA progression, and for reducing the OA burden on health services and the wider economy.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Without improved treatments for the growing number of people in the UK with painful OA, the burden on individuals, the health system and society will become unsustainable. There is growing awareness of the importance of biomechanical factors in development and progression of OA, particularly knee OA. Studies suggest an association between abnormal loading on the joint (e.g. caused by a playing a high level of sport or by obesity) and damage to the joint found in people with OA. Correction of this abnormal loading may slow down OA progression and may also relieve pain.

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