Principal Investigator: Professor David Young

Lead institution: University of Newcastle

Award amount: £983,141 over 5 years

Are microRNAs key mediators of cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis ?

MicroRNAs are a recently discovered group of factors that control cell behaviour. There are thousands of microRNAs, but specific ones control the behaviour of cartilage cells and have key roles in osteoarthritis. Changing the level of a single microRNA can alter osteoarthritis, but we know that several microRNAs change during disease. The group has identified four microRNAs which have key roles in cartilage. This programme seeks:

  • to show that these microRNAs have a role in osteoarthritis in the whole animal (not just the laboratory);
  • to find the optimum way to deliver a microRNA to the joint to act as a therapy
  • and to build a computer model of microRNA action in osteoarthritis to identify the outcomes of changing specific microRNAs therapeutically.

The programme of work aims to move the research towards clinical utility.