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Research on the Genetics of Osteoarthrits
4 Generations of Terry's familyIn July Seavets committee received an information briefing from Research into Ageing outlining some new research projects, one of which involved the genetics of osteoarthritis, which I mentioned to my wife Terry. She has already had a knee replaced and is due to have a shoulder joint re-surfaced’ soon, because of osteoarthritis. Her mother has it too, as did her grand-father, so she has worried about the genetic aspects and whether her daughters and grand children are likely to suffer it as well.

The briefing said a Dr John Loughlin is leading this project, so Terry tried emailing him atOxford University. To our surprise she got an immediate reply. The research team were just about to launch the project and were planning publicity to help recruit the 8,000 people with joint replacements that they need. To help in the publicity they wanted a photograph of a four generation family with the condition and they asked Terry if the family could be photographed together. So Terry mustered her mother (95), two daughters and three grand-daughters for a group photo. Terry was then asked to participate in an event in London where she was ‘the patient’ doing radio interviews, along with an arthritis genetics consultant.

Subsequently she has done interviews for SAGA Magazine, a local paper and Arthritis Research Campaign fundraisers. The family photo featured as the cover of ‘Arthritis Today’ in January with an article announcing the research project – cover girls at last!  Hugh NorrisWe now understand that osteoarthritis is thought to be about 50% genetically determined and that the research team hope to identify the hundred or so genes likely to be involved, using the findings of the human genome project.This should clarify the mechanisms and lead on to improved treatments.Terry hopes these developments will be in time for the next generation. For me this is confirmation of how right we are in Seavets to be helping to raise funds for Research into Ageing.

Hugh Norris


Last modified 23-Jan-2018