press release
Published: 27 March 2019

Search for non-surgical osteoarthritis treatments boosted by £600k funding award

By Natasha Meredith

Dr Giovanna Nalesso from the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Surrey has been awarded a £600,000 New Investigator Award from the Medical Research Council.

Getty Images
Getty Images

This prestigious award identifies and supports talented researchers and will enable Dr Nalesso to establish her own research group to conduct in depth investigations into osteoarthritis. Dr Nalesso and her team, which includes experts from Queen Mary University of London and Royal Surrey County Hospital, will examine the role of Wnt signalling in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis, a highly disabling musculoskeletal disease affecting over 8 million people in the UK alone.

Dr Nalesso has also recently been awarded a £96,000 Springboard Award from the Academy of Medical Sciences. This project will investigate the role of lipid metabolism in the articular cartilage in patients with osteoarthritis.

The two projects, while focussed on different aspects of the disease, will complement each other and will help in gaining a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms leading to tissue degeneration in the joint during the progression of osteoarthritis.

Treatment for osteoarthritis is currently limited to pain relief and joint replacement surgery, which is only available in the final stages of the disease. To prevent the need for surgery, researchers will investigate the molecular mechanisms driving the disease and develop new pharmacological interventions to treat patients.

Dr Nalesso said: “Osteoarthritis is a debilitating disease that robs people of their independence and quality of life. These research grants will enable us to understand more about the disease and its molecular triggers. With this information we hope to develop new treatments for the illness without the need for surgery.”

Professor Chris Proudman, Head of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, said: “I am delighted to hear that Giovanna and her fantastic work has been recognised by the Medical Research Council and the Academy of Medical Sciences. Osteoarthritis affects both humans and animals, causing constant chronic pain affecting every area of their lives. The more we learn about the disease the better equipped we will be to treat it.”


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