Pain Centre Versus Arthritis

Disease - Osteoarthritis, knee pain

Lead applicant - Professor David Walsh

Organisation - University of Nottingham

Type of grant - Centre of Excellence Full

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £1,998,603

Start date - 22 March 2015

Reference - 20777

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Pain is a major symptom of conditions which affect the joints and muscles, including osteoarthritis. This centre, which is being funded for a second period of five years, combines the expertise of both researchers and healthcare professionals to increase the understanding of pain caused by arthritis, to improve its treatment and to train future generations of investigators. Their aims are to develop new painkillers and to find ways which prevent arthritis pain getting worse with time. To do this the researchers will find out which aspects of pain progression are most important to people with knee osteoarthritis, and develop ways of measuring, predicting and preventing pain progression.

Why is this research important?

At present, healthcare professionals do not have methods for deciding which treatment is most likely to work in any individual. In addition, arthritis pain can change so an individual’s treatment needs may alter over time. Advancing the knowledge of how pain occurs and why it changes over time in some individuals is vital to be able to improve its management.

This research will use clinical assessments and brain imaging from patients with knee osteoarthritis to understand how pain signals are transmitted from the joints to the brain, and what happens to these signals when joint pain becomes worse. The research group will further trial a questionnaire that enables healthcare professionals to identify the best treatments for patients. In addition, work using mice and rats will be used to test new treatments which should reduce pain progression and select safe and successful treatments for further clinical development.

How will the findings benefit patients?

A better understanding of the causes of pain may lead to the development of new treatments for osteoarthritis and other painful musculoskeletal conditions. Any advance in ensuring that every patient receives the best treatment for them is likely to be of significant benefit.