£24 million secured to lead the way in pain research in the UK

A scientist looking at a test tube which has purple liquid in it.

Today we’ve announced the biggest single investment in pain research in the UK and our largest single commitment to research ever.

After years of hard work, we have secured £12 million of matched government funding and are committing a £12 million investment to improve understanding and lay the foundations for better treatments for the millions of people who live with persistent musculoskeletal pain.

What is the fund?

The joint £24 million fund forms a 5-year partnership between Versus Arthritis and UK Research and Innovation to generate a research platform, known as the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform, which brings together experts from biological, psychosocial and cognitive pain research fields.

Launching the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform

Millions of people in the UK live in pain every single day. Arthritis and related conditions are the biggest causes of that pain.

In fact, more than half of the 10 million people with arthritis say they experience pain every single day, and eight out of ten say they experience it most days.

It’s not short-term or one-off bursts but constant and consistent pain. It can fluctuate but for most people it never truly goes away.

Yet despite the growing understanding and research of chronic pain in animals, there is still a lack of understanding of pain in humans.

The Advanced Pain Discovery Platform will combine cutting edge technology and science, using artificial intelligence to understand the complex nature of pain in humans.

All this data will help us to identify and better inform the development of new treatments that can more effectively manage pain for millions of people living with the pain of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions.

What will the partnership achieve?

This partnership will seek to understand the complexities of pain in humans, and ultimately lead to new treatments.

The investment allows us to bring together experts from different areas of pain research to accelerate a new, co-ordinated approach to researching pain and arthritis.

Through the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform we will develop a better understanding of what causes pain; develop practical ideas to better help people living in pain; and test the ideas to ensure they can be developed and scaled to have the greatest possible impact.

The platform will also provide a foundation for greater industry engagement in UK pain research.

James, 38 from Newcastle, lives with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, when he heard of the announcement he said:

“Living with chronic pain can limit what a person does in life. I am thrilled that the Government and Versus Arthritis is investing in research into illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions that cause a person to suffer. It is often difficult to articulate the pain I have suffered because of my Illness, but I am happy there can be improvements in diagnosis and treatments available to ensure people, like myself, have an opportunity to live a fuller life.”

It's an exciting time for pain research and we’ll keep you posted on progress and updates. Find out more about the research we are funding.