Harnessing the potential of 17-HDHA a novel biomarker of osteoarthritis pain status

Disease - Osteoarthritis, knee pain

Lead applicant - Professor Victoria Chapman

Organisation - University of Nottingham

Type of grant - Invited Research Award

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £394,952.85

Start date - 3 January 2019

Reference - 21960

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Our bodies naturally produce molecules that can control pain and inflammation. This study aims to understand how a molecule, called 17-HDHA, produces effective pain relief in rats with arthritis, and whether the amount of this molecule in the blood can predict how much future pain a person with osteoarthritis will experience.

Why is this research important?

There are few studies of the specific mechanisms of osteoarthritis pain. It is not fully understood why some people experience chronic osteoarthritis pain while others do not. Because of this gap in knowledge, treatments that relieve osteoarthritis pain, as well as a diagnostic test to see if someone is likely to experience future osteoarthritis pain, have yet to be developed. Investigating the molecules that can prevent pain and how they do this within the body could lead to more targeted pain-relieving treatments for people with osteoarthritis.

The researchers have previously shown that levels of the 17-HDHA molecule in the blood is strongly associated with the amount of pain experienced by people with osteoarthritis and the pain tolerance in healthy volunteers. During this project they will use a variety of approaches using rats with arthritis, and human volunteers to provide new insights into how 17-HDHA reduces osteoarthritis pain and whether it can predict future levels of pain. The researchers have already collected baseline blood samples from a group of people with osteoarthritis. After three years, they will take blood samples to see how pain levels have changed with levels of 17-HDHA in the person's blood.

How will the findings benefit patients?

The researchers believe looking at the effects of 17-HDHA on osteoarthritis pain reduction could provide a starting point for the development of new pain-relieving drugs. In addition, investigating whether levels of 17-HDHA predict future osteoarthritis pain levels could provide a way of identifying people who are likely to develop chronic osteoarthritis pain. Therefore, this could lead to the development of personalised pain treatments and a diagnostic test.