Inhibiting blood vessels to stop the spread of inflammatory pain

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis, knee pain

Lead applicant - Dr Nicholas Beazley-Long

Organisation - University of Nottingham

Type of grant - Project Grant

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £266,781.68

Start date - 16 September 2016

Reference - 21338

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This project aims to further investigate the proposed link between continued pain in inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis) and the activity in the blood vessels of the spinal cord.

Why is this research important?

It has been suggested that blood vessels in the spinal cord become leaky, allowing immune cells to move from the blood to the spinal cord, causing pain signals from the joints to be enhanced. The research hopes to investigate this theory by growing the cells that line blood vessels in a laboratory to study what enables/stops the movement of immune cells. Rat/mouse models of inflammatory arthritis will be used to look at how immune cells move into the spinal cord.

The work will look at the link between the blood vessel changes, immune cell movement and pain in arthritis, and whether blocking this movement of cells can reduce pain. The animals will be given drugs which stop the activation of the blood vessels, preventing immune cell movement to see if this will stop the pain. The results from these studies will help us to better understand how pain is generated in inflammatory arthritis and open up potential new treatment options.

How will the findings benefit patients?

There are drugs already used to treat other diseases that target these activated blood vessels. This would mean that if the outcome of the research is positive, existing drugs could be repurposed to treat arthritis. This could lead to rapid clinical trials and therefore findings will be able to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis sooner.