Professor Eleftheria Zengini has led Greek, British and other researchers in the largest research study ever on the genetic background of osteoarthritis, which has opened up opportunities for developing new drugs in the future.
Osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal disease and the leading cause of disability globally. Many millions of people around the world have chronic pain and have difficulty moving freely. There is no cure to date, only pain-relieving drugs or surgery to replace the joint in some cases relives the effect.
In the study that was published in the journal Genetics “Nature Genetics”, the scientists discovered 52 news genes and biological mechanisms associated with osteoarthritis. This came after they analysed the complete genome of 77,052 people suffering from osteoarthritis and of 378,169 healthy people.
Dr. Zengini stated that “Osteoarthritis is a very common illness, which causes mobility difficulties and for which there is no cure. We have conducted the largest study of osteoarthritis to date and we have found more than 50 new genetic changes that increase the risk for its occurrence. This is an important step forward with the aim of developing treatments that will help millions of people who suffer.”