UK Japan Pain, Action and Movement Network

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Ben Seymour

Organisation - University of Cambridge

Type of grant - Research Award

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £149,687.50

Start date - 1 April 2017

Reference - 21537

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

After the onset of arthritis, pain often persists independently despite disease suppression, remission or other treatment, posing a considerable clinical problem. This project creates a collaborative research network between UK and Japanese neuroscientists. The network will develop new and existing collaborations to form a major body of technology-orientated neuroscience research, with a focus on understanding the relationship between movement and pain.

Why is this research important?

The study comes from the idea that the chronic pain in arthritis can be due to changes in action and motor control centres in the brain, over and above the ongoing pain signals. Specifically, the team propose that spontaneous and unpredictable pain leads to reorganisation and changes in parts of the brain that amplify pain. These mechanisms would offer an explanation as to why pain often persists in arthritis despite apparently successful anti-inflammatory or surgical treatment.

This funding supports two components:

  • two research projects looking at pain and brain changes associated with unpredictable and uncontrollable pain;
  • and creation of a UK-Japanese research network with a focus on Pain, Action and Movement, bringing together additional UK-Japan collaborative projects under a broad research network

How will the findings benefit patients?

The researchers aim to provide an understanding of the mechanisms of pain in arthritis, which has the possibility to lead to long-term innovation in treatments of all kinds, including medical technology-based solutions. The setup of a Research Network Website will contain an information Hub that would function as an education and information source for patients and carers, providing easy-to-understand information on the scientific background, research progress, international progress, and future orientated prospects of treatment, especially technology-based solutions.