A researcher from The University of Manchester has received funding from medical research charity Arthritis Research UK to help identify the genes involved in developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr Stephen Eyre from The University of Manchester will use his three-year research grant of £160,194 to build further on a recent genetics study looking at changes to the DNA sequence. This will help to identify which genes are affected and understand how they are involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease which is known to have both genetic and environmental causes. Over the last decade, due to scientific advances, it has been possible to undertake large genetic studies. These have been used to compare the genetic sequence of individuals with and without certain conditions, enabling researchers to identify genetic changes which may be involved in disease development.
Dr Stephen Eyre from the University of Manchester who heads up the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Genetics and Genomics said: “If we wish to cure rheumatoid arthritis in the future, it is necessary to fully understand what causes it in the first place. We know already that the combination of genetic and lifestyle risk factors can vary between patients. However, if we can determine exactly what genes are involved, we will be able to identify different pathways that cause disease in different patients.”
Through the process of identifying genetic patterns, it has the potential to provide both clinicians and patients with more information to make informed decisions about the selection of the right treatment for individual patients. Additionally, Dr Eyre will be studying genes involved in causing the disease in a bid to develop future therapies and treatments and to see whether those therapies that help treat other conditions should be tested on patients with the condition.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of inflammatory arthritis, affecting around 400,000 people in the UK. The disease reduces people’s joint movement and can lead to permanent joint damage and deformity, particularly if left untreated.
Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK commented: “This study could have a tremendous impact on the understanding of rheumatoid arthritis and may help to improve diagnosis and provide better treatments for people living with this condition. It will provide many important insights into the mechanism by which genetic variants control gene function, causing rheumatoid arthritis”
Arthritis Research UK is the leading authority on arthritis in the UK, conducting scientific and medical research into all types of arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions. It is the UK’s fourth largest medical research charity and the only charity solely committed to funding high quality research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis.
Notes for editors
For further information, please contact Wesley Hutchins in the Arthritis Research UK press office on 020 7307 2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Arthritis Research UK is the charity dedicated to stopping the devastating impact that arthritis has on people’s lives. Everything that we do is focused on taking the pain away and keeping people active. Our remit covers all conditions which affect the joints, bones and muscles including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain and osteoporosis. We fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis, provide information on how to maintain healthy joints and bones and to live well with arthritis. We also champion the cause, influence policy change and work in partnership with others to achieve our aims. We depend on public support and the generosity of our donors to keep doing this vital work.