Body clock study unlocks prospect of treatment for Osteoarthritis

Body clock study unlocks prospect of treatment for Osteoarthritis

Research findings

A University of Manchester biologist has for the first time established that the painful and debilitating symptoms endured by osteoarthritis sufferers are intrinsically linked to the human body clock.

The study, led by Dr Qing-Jun Meng, who is a Senior Research Fellow for Arthritis Research UK, could in the years to come, pave the way for drug treatment of the joint condition that affects 8 million people in the UK.

His research findings, jointly funded by Arthritis Research UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC), are published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

He said: "Despite the best efforts of doctors and scientists, we have a poor understanding of osteoarthritis: sadly, pain relief and joint replacement surgery seem to be the only option for patients.

"So the prospect of fundamental treatment is very exciting- even though it's still probably years away."

Professor Ray Boot-Handford, who is also a senior author of this study, commented: "This study, delivered by an international team led by Dr Meng, demonstrates the important role the body clock plays in keeping our joints healthy. The findings open up new avenues for understanding and developing treatments for osteoarthritis."

Stephen Simpson, director of research and programmes at Arthritis Research UK said: "Many people with arthritis find that their symptoms get worse at certain times of the day and the results of this interesting and exciting study reveal a likely biological basis to this effect.

"It is important to understand the role that the body's circadian rhythm (our inbuilt body clock) has in maintaining healthy joint tissue and how disruptions to this process could contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. An exciting prospect is that it may be possible to use this new information to improve treatments and pain relief for the millions of people affected by this debilitating condition."

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