The largest ever study into the genetics of osteoarthritis has found eight new genes linked to the condition. Researchers at Newcastle University say it's a 'major breakthrough'.
Common genes have been found that increase the risk by between 11 per cent and 20 per cent.
The £2.2million project is the world's biggest study of its kind, comparing 7,400 patients with severe osteoarthritis with 11,000 healthy volunteers. The results were then replicated in over 7,000 arthritis patients.
Osteoarthritis affects around 40 per cent of people over the age of 70, a total of 8 million people in the UK, causing pain and disability. There is currently no cure for the condition. Treatments for early osteoarthritis are limited to non-surgical options such as pain killers and physiotherapy until joint replacement becomes an option.
– Professor John Loughlin, Newcastle University
"We know that osteoarthritis runs in families and that this is due to the genes that people pass on, rather than their shared environment. In this study we were able to say with a high degree of confidence which genetic regions are the major risk factors for developing osteoarthritis: the first time that this has been possible for this common yet complex disease. It's an important first step."