GW4 Musculoskeletal Research Consortium

Initiator Fund

Project period: May to August 2015

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Richie Gill
University of Bristol: Ashley Blom, Jon Tarlton
Cardiff University: Bruce Caterson
University of Exeter: Andrew Toms

Project overview

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are the second most common disability globally, and are by far the most common cause of disability in the over 50 age group. Due to an ageing population, with a 32% increase in the over 50s by 2030, MSK is projected to be the leading global cause of disability within the next decade.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is second only to back pain as the leading MSK cause of disability and is increasing at twice the rate of any other cause. 8.7 million people in the UK, and one third of the over 55 age group, suffer from OA. This debilitating condition represents an enormous cost to the UK health service, with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs costing £45 million. With no effective therapy, advanced disease often requires joint replacement, with total annual costs to the NHS of around £1 billion.

Key objectives of the consortium include identifying areas of commonality and complementarity, exploring potential shared research infrastructure and facilities, recognising strengths and gaps in our combined research portfolio and exploring potential programmes of research.