British scientists are hopeful that in the next five years they will be able to come up with a blood test that can help diagnose arthritis even before its onset and can also find out which patients' condition will worsen over the period of time.
At present, no test can detect osteoarthritis from beforehand and usually by the time it is diagnosed, the disease reaches the advanced stages.
The teams from Bristol University have found out two biomarkers in the blood which could help distinguish between a healthy person and one with osteoarthritis.
A team led by Dr Mohammed Sharif, Senior Lecturer in the School of Clinical Sciences, has been given almost £300,000 by medical research charity Arthritis Research UK to find out if two new biomarkers in the blood can inform doctors which patients are likely to deteriorate over time and who is likely to benefit from specific treatments.
Over eight million people in the UK are affected by osteoarthritis. In this disease, cartilage at the ends of bones wears away, causing stiffness and swollen and painful joints. At present, patients have to rely on painkillers or new artificial joints.
Dr Sharif added said, "We need to be sure they will be good enough for use in an individual patient. We hope to find out whether they can reliably distinguish between a healthy person and a person with osteoarthritis, identify which patients' condition will get worse, and whether a particular drug is working or not."
The NHS spends at least £5.2billion annually to treat the condition of osteoarthritis.