A new study has discovered genes linked to osteoarthritis which could help researchers develop better treatments for the condition. The study was conducted by a team of international scientists. For the study, genomes of over 77,000 people with osteoarthritis were analysed.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease which is painful and prevents patients from moving freely. It can damage a patient's joints. "Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of chronic disability worldwide and this study represents the largest genetic epidemiological study to date in our attempts to understand what makes one person more likely to develop the disease than another," said Mark Wilkinson, a professor at the University of Sheffield, who was part of the study told a news portal. Adding, "As well as looking at inherited factors that underpin disease susceptibility, we also looked at how genes link together to form pathways that underpin disease biology."
"This helps us to identify key points towards which we could target the development of new treatments for the disease. Here we show data to support the repurposing of existing treatments, some drugs that are already in development, and also novel avenues for drug exploration," he further explained.
The findings reveal the new genes doubles the number of genetic regions linked with the disabling condition. This means existing medicines need to be re-evaluated. Currently, the only treatment options are pain relief medications and joint replacement surgery.