Osteoarthritis (OA) currently affects over 40 million Europeans, with its associated personal suffering and significant economic burden for health systems set to dramatically escalate in a rapidly ageing Europe. Given the very limited effective therapeutic options for OA, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) created an ad hoc committee of OA researchers, clinicians and patients to consider a research agenda focussed on the areas of epidemiology, pathogenesis, imaging and biomarkers, and therapies. The committee deliberated and listed research needs in these areas and also established some cross-area priority themes: predictors of OA progression, especially where this might enable stratified interventions; understanding mechanisms of OA pain; improved understanding of tissue communication in a process where multiple tissue pathologies are common; developing concepts of, and consequently interventions for, early OA where both pain and structural processes may be more effectively targeted than in typical clinical presentations; and the need for new treatment strategies, with examples discussed on pathology-targeted therapies and optimal combinations of therapies. This research agenda should provide useful guidance for all researchers in this field and hopefully lead to improved OA care.
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