Gene Discovery Led by Greek Scientist May Pave the Way for New Osteoarthritis Treatments

Professor Eleftheria Zeggini

Osteoarthritis is a painful and degenerative disease and to date, there is no disease-modifying treatment available. However, thanks to a Greek native, Professor Eleftheria Zeggini originally from Volos, there has been a promising breakthrough in treatment – the first of its kind.

Dr. Zeggini, previously from the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK and now based at Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen in Germany, recently led an international team of medical researchers, including scientists from the University of Sheffield in the UK. Thus far, the team has uncovered 52 new genetic changes linked to osteoarthritis. These discoveries, the scientists hope will help develop new treatments for the disease. In all, the team of renowned scientists analyzed the genomes of over 77,000 people with osteoarthritis, juxtaposed to the genome of 378,169 healthy people.

The research findings are promising and were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Genetics.

With the new findings, the publishing highlights, scientists have now revealed new genes and biological pathways linked to osteoarthritis, allowing more research to be conducted regarding how to help identify starting points for new medicines and evaluations for existing medicines used to treat osteoarthritis.

“Osteoarthritis is a very common, disabling disease with no cure,” said Professor Eleftheria Zeggini, in the published study.

“We have conducted the largest study of osteoarthritis to date and we have found more than 50 new genetic changes that increase the risk for its occurrence. This is an important step forward with the aim of developing treatments that will help millions of people who suffer.”

Dr. Zeggini has published over 150 scientific clinical papers noting breakthrough discoveries of inherited factors for diseases such as obesity, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and, osteoarthritis, as well as other illnesses.