Research which could lead to new treatments for gout is among
six University of Otago projects to receive a total of
$150,103 in funding from the Otago Medical Research
The research by Dr Cushla McKinney and Associate Prof Tony
Merriman received a $34,578 grant from the foundation.
Prof Merriman said the project would look at gene called
TLR4, which is thought to influence gout susceptibility among
people who carry the gene.
The project would involve examining how the gene increased
gout susceptibility, which in turn could lead to new ways to
''What we are trying to do is develop treatments that target
the root cause of that gout inflammation, rather than be a
general sledgehammer, bash-the-pain-type approach,'' he said.
This could provide insight into the role of the immune system
in the development of gout and potentially confirm TLR4 as a
new therapeutic target for treatment or prevention.
It could lead to treatments that worked for people who were
resistant to other treatments for gout.
The other projects to receive funding from the foundation's
Laurenson and Jack Thomson Arthritis Awards were.-Research
into the benefits of rehabilitation exercises for treating
shoulder osteoarthritis ($10,127); research examining
''pre-habilitation'' or pre-operation exercise programmes for
hip-replacement patients ($26,320); research investigating
treatments to prevent brain injury caused by extreme
prematurity ($29,931); research looking into the utilisation
of nanotechnology for improving the treatment of pancreatic
cancer ($19,882); research into the use of a novel
combination drug therapy for the treatment of aggressive
prostate cancer ($29,265).