BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Saturday, 21 September, 2002, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Hope for arthritis treatment
Person with arthritis
Two million people in the UK have osteoarthritis
Scientists hope they could soon use gene therapy to beat osteoarthritis.

At the moment there is no cure or effective treatment for osteoarthritis - a degenerative form of joint disease.

The only treatment currently available for osteoarthritis are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which alleviate symptoms but do not affect disease progression.

Many people are unable to tolerate the drugs because of side-effects, particularly stomach problems.

Aging

There are currently about two million people in the UK with the condition, but the numbers are on the increase as the population ages and becomes more overweight.

But a team of scientists from Manchester University's School of Biological Science hope that over the next five years they can develop a targeted gene therapy.

Gene therapy centres on replacing the faulty gene responsible with another which should work normally.


We're confident that we will find effective target genes

Dr Gillian Wallis

If successful they plan to start clinical trials on patients within the next decade.

Dr Gillian Wallis, a senior lecturer in medicine, said they are confident of success.

"Obviously we are still very much at the research stage, but if all our laboratory experiments work out then we hope to translate the results directly into clinical practice.

"We would hope to be looking at clinical trials on patients within ten years.

"We're confident that we will find effective target genes, which we then plan to introduce into joints using carrier viruses."

Treatment

The team's work is being funded by almost 685,000 from the medical research charity the Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC)

A spokeswoman for ARC said they were hopeful for a successful treatment.

"Modern medicine can currently offer nothing to slow down or stop disease progression in osteoarthritis but we have high hopes of this research in Manchester.

"Osteoarthritis is a very difficult research nut to crack, but our scientists are now making great strides and offering real hope of an effective treatment for the millions of patients in the UK."

See also:

09 Sep 02 | Leicester 2002
01 Apr 02 | Health
17 Mar 02 | Health
13 Mar 01 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes