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New £6m arthritis research unit is going for gold

Britain's Olympic athletes may be among the many people to benefit from a new biomedical research unit focusing on musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis which was officially launched yesterday in Manchester (4th July 2012).

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) brings together experts from our Trust and The University of Manchester to tackle diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis which affect the joints and other tissues.  Over 10 million people in the UK have some form of arthritis, which can affect children as well as adults.

Trust Chairman Peter Mount and Chief Executive Mike Deegan attended the launch.  "By combining the best research and clinical skills, and capitalising on patients' enthusiasm to be part of the research process, we can make significant strides in tackling arthritis and related diseases," said Mike Deegan.

Professor Deborah Symmons, the BRU Director, added:  "The launch of the new unit under the 'Going for Gold' theme highlights our aim to deliver world class research to help people living with musculoskeletal disorders. Our ultimate goal is to deliver the best possible treatment for patients with arthritis, whatever the cause may be."

The BRU has received funding from the NIHR (£4.9m) and the Department of Health (£1.5m). Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "We know that conditions like arthritis and rheumatism can have a devastating effect on peoples' lives, so it is essential that we develop new treatments to help NHS patients and their families.

"Researchers working at this research unit will develop innovative new ways of treating these conditions which will have a real, lasting and positive impact on patient care."

Manchester has played a leading role in studying and treating musculoskeletal disorders since 1945, when the first research centre for the study of chronic rheumatism was set up at Manchester Royal Infirmary. It was founded by rheumatology expert Professor Jonas Kellgren, whose pioneering work is commemorated by the Kellgren Centre at MRI.