A link has been found between three genes and the development of Pagent's disease.
The painful bone condition involves a process which creates large and malformed bones at significant discomfort to the sufferer.
However, research funded by Arthritis Research-UK may offer hope of catching the illness earlier.
Marilyn McCallum, chief executive of the Paget's Association, explained that the discovery of the link between the genes and the disease provides hope for a potential genetic test "to identify whether people will go on to develop this condition".
The expert added: "The exciting thing about this new project is that it's going to allow the children of people who already have Paget's disease to be tested to see if they have the mutated gene."
People who are identified as having the mutated gene could be given therapies early which "may stop the symptoms starting later in life", explained Ms McCallum.
Independent advice on private healthcare