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Hope for the future through research

Blog

06 Apr 2021

This April, we launch our latest Research Grants. It’s an exciting time for the charity as we receive many innovative and creative applications for potentially ground-breaking research. This will be my first as Director of Clinical Services and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

What drives our research

Osteoporosis affects 3.5 million people in the UK and causes over half a million broken bones every year. The condition can be painful, impact on daily life, reduce independence and sometimes lead to life-changing disability. We know that research holds the key to a better future and over the past 30 years, we have invested over £5.2 million in more than 130 projects.

These projects have greatly enhanced our understanding of osteoporosis and led to vast improvements in diagnosis and treatment. But this is only part of the picture…

Our members and supporters often describe research as bringing ‘hope for the future’ – for themselves, those they love and anyone who could be impacted by this devastating condition.

As the only UK funding body solely focused on research into osteoporosis, we are committed to investing money into research that will have maximum impact in the future and bring about real improvements to the lives of people living with the condition.

When we asked people living with osteoporosis about research priorities, they told us that alongside diagnosis and treatment, they also wanted to see research into issues like pain management, keeping active and emotional health – all an important part of life with osteoporosis.

Charting a course towards a cure

Since our inception, the Royal Osteoporosis Society has been committed to research, becoming a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) in 1992. Our focus on research has not waned since then, and in fact in 2019, we took a bold step further by establishing our Osteoporosis and Bone Research Academy.

The Academy is the first and only dedicated academy for osteoporosis.

It’s a collaborative venture with patients at its heart, where leading researchers, clinicians and academics work to advance scientific knowledge towards a cure for osteoporosis.

The Academy’s Research Roadmap sets out to bridge the gap between knowledge and research – setting the priorities for research over the next three to five years.

Ultimately, we’re charting a course towards a cure and to get there we need improved understanding of the causes of osteoporosis; new technologies and enhanced therapeutic interventions to optimise bone health; and everyone who is at high risk of breaking a bone being identified, assessed and treated appropriately.

Patient Advocates

We have always taken seriously our role in acting as the voice of people living with osteoporosis, and so to ensure that their priorities are central to research, we have volunteer patient advocates embedded throughout our work.

Our advocates use their knowledge and experience to provide a unique and valuable perspective, which helps shape the development of research and the dissemination of findings.

Following a call for applications, a rigorous selection and peer review process will find the ideas that our expert advisors and patient advocates feel have the greatest potential to move us forward in our mission.

We also support researchers to ensure that the voice of patients is actively included at all stages of their research – from identifying research questions, developing applications for funding, designing protocols, and even participating in studies.

Looking ahead

As we prepare to launch our latest Research Grants, I feel optimistic about the progress we can make towards our vision of a future without osteoporosis.

Our experts and patient advocates play a vital role in osteoporosis research and for that I thank them wholeheartedly. You too, could help us on our journey towards a cure, by supporting our work. Together, we can make a difference.

Author

Lauren Wiggins - Director of Clinical Services