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Unravelling the genetic causes of osteoarthritis

Award Details

  • Principal Investigator
    Dr Kalliope Panoutsopoulou
  • Type of grant
    Career Development Fellowship
  • Amount Awarded
  • Institute
    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • Location
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • Grant reference number
  • Condition

What are the aims of this research?

This project aims to use novel methods to identify genetic factors that lead to the development of osteoarthritis which have escaped detection using previous technologies. The genetic causes of specific clinical subsets of this condition, and how these interact with environmental factors to increase an individual’s chances of developing the disease, will also be investigated.

Why is this research important?

Osteoarthritis is caused by a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. The largest genetic study for osteoarthritis to date, the arcOGEN project (funded by Arthritis Research UK) identified eight genetic regions which are associated with disease, however there are also thought to be additional genetic culprits yet to be identified. These “missing” variants may be less common in the population but may have a bigger contribution to the risk of osteoarthritis, making them attractive targets for future therapeutic intervention.

This project will use new techniques, which have not yet been used in the field of osteoarthritis genetics, with the aim to uncover many of the missing genetic determinants which predispose to disease. This work will build on and utilise detailed information available from the arcOGEN study to also investigate the genetic basis of differences in clinical characteristics and disease severity which are seen between patients.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Establishing genetic factors that predispose to disease is a crucial first step in the research path towards developing new treatments. Investigating the genetic determinants that underlie differences in disease characteristics (for example severity), coupled with environmental factors such as weight, will enable better therapies and personalised treatment options.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.