New genetic clues on arthritis that could improve treatment

Lawrence McGinty

Former Science and Medical Editor

New Genetic links which could trigger the disease in some patients have been discovered Credit: Press Association

Arthritis in joints happens when the cartilage that protects bones rubbing against each other wears away - leaving nerves exposed.

Scientists have known for years that it runs in families and have now carried out the biggest study ever of what genes are involved

They analysed every single gene -- thousands of them -- from 7000 individuals with osteoarthritis and compared them with all the genes from 43 000 controls who didn't have the condition.

They found eight regions of genes which were linked to osteoarthritis -- three others were known before.

Jacqueline MacMillian knows about the pain of osteoarthritis.

She's had both of her hips replaced. It runs in her family - her mother and aunt have it - and she's one of thousands of volunteers involved in the research unveiled today

If you've got arthritis though don't hold your breath -- they think new treatments are 5 - 10 years away