Medical research charity Arthritis Research UK has awarded researchers at University College London (UCL) and the University of Nottingham a grant of £800,000 to develop new treatments for severe arthritis pain.
The research could be of benefit to the millions of people with arthritis around the world who experience disability and distress as a result of their pain.
Research teams at UCL and the Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre at the University of Nottingham will use the funds for a four year study to look at the role of the proteins and molecules involved in causing severe pain in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Currently people experiencing pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are offered pain relieving drugs such as steroids or ibuprofen which work by blocking the disease inflammation. Although these drugs work well for people experiencing low level pain, they can have little impact for people experiencing severe pain.
The team, led jointly by Professor David Walsh, director of the Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre at the University of Nottingham and Professor John Wood from UCL hope their findings may lead to the development of new drug treatments which are more effective in fighting arthritis pain.
Professor Wood said: "We know that many people with arthritis experience disabling pain every day, quite often brought on by carrying out simple activities such as walking or standing."
Professor Walsh added: "Pain remains the biggest issue for people with arthritis, even after they have been using currently available treatments to their best effect.