New ways to defeat arthritis researched

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RESEARCHERS plan to develop new ways to help people suffering from osteoarthritis following the opening of a new experimental treatment centre in Yorkshire.

Existing treatments are limited to painkillers and physiotherapy until joints degenerate to a stage where they are replaced.

But experts at the new Arthritis Research UK Experimental Osteoarthritis Treatment Centre at Leeds University are now aiming to develop better and earlier interventions among them knee braces, special footwear, and changing patients’ gait and posture.

The centre is being jointly funded by £150,000 from medical research charity Arthritis Research UK and Össur, a global leader in non-invasive orthopaedics, over three years. It will focus on osteoarthritis of the knee which affects six million people in the UK.

Prof Philip Conaghan said: “Osteoarthritis has increased between two and four-fold over the past 20 years and will become even more common as the population ages and becomes more obese.

“More than two-thirds of people with osteoarthritis have constant pain that affects their ability to perform normal daily activities, partly due to the limited treatment options available to them, and there’s an enormous need to find new ways of treating it, particularly aimed at treating people early and preventing them from becoming chronically disabled.

“This new centre has been developed to carry out the high quality research to identify, test and develop such treatment options.”