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Arthritis sufferers fund arthritis research

The Queensland and Northern New South Wales Lions Medical Research Foundation, long time supporters of the Brisbane research community, have confirmed funding of $1.2 million for scientists at UQ's Diamantina Institute.

Dr Gethin Thomas will be the inaugural recipient of the $300,000 three-year fellowship, which will fund his research investigating the causes of ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

This is a form of arthritis affecting the spine resulting in joint fusion and immobility, and osteoporosis, a disease characterised by bone loss and frequent fracture.

This funding will enable us to focus on our longer-term goals of identifying the underlying causes of these diseases and developing new drugs and therapies, Dr Thomas said.

There is an urgent need for new therapies in these diseases that will enable reversal of disease damage.

The current therapies can only prevent progression of AS and osteoporosis but cannot repair already damaged bones and joints.

Unfortunately sufferers are frequently not diagnosed until fracture or loss of mobility by which time degeneration of the bones or joints is already significant.

Irene Dunning, Lions Foundation Chairman, said she was pleased Dr Thomas had received the first installment of the new Fellowship.

I think it's good to be supporting something which will potentially help a lot of Lions members," she said.

Osteoporosis and arthritis are diseases that affect many Lions members and their families and friends.

Lions members will further contribute to the research by volunteering as participants in the studies providing a valuable resource for our research efforts and creating a mutually beneficial synergy.


Contact: Penny Robinson
Research Australia

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