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Arthritis Research UK Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre - Queen Mary University of London

Award Details

  • Principal Investigator
    Professor Costantino Pitzalis
  • Type of grant
    Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre
  • Amount Awarded
  • Institute
    Queen Mary University of London
  • Location
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • Grant reference number
  • Condition
    Sjogren’s syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis

What are the aims of this research?

The focus of this centre is inflammatory arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. The team will combine basic pharmacological and inflammation science with a powerful translational clinical research capability focused on early-phase, experimental medicine studies involving diseased joint tissue analyses for evaluating response to treatment.

The centre will focus on three specific aims/objectives:

  1. Experimental therapeutics programme: Accelerating new drugs into patients.
  2. Stratified healthcare programme: Maximising the use of biologic drugs using specific markers in diseased tissue, in particular looking at their impact on patient care and validation in prospective clinical trials.
  3. Translational training programme: Training the next translational medicine faculty.

Why is this research important?

Biologic drugs have transformed the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, however around 30% of patients do not respond to these threapies, and treatment is expensive. We do not currently know why some patients do not respond to treatment, which is a major unmet medical need and a considerable health and economic burden.

This centre aims to tackle this unmet need by: a) developing more effective, less expensive drugs, b) use  biologics more rationally and understand the mechanisms of non-response in the 30-40% of patients who do not respond to these drugs.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This research has the potential to benefit patients in the following ways:

  1. Developing new drugs and testing them in clinical trials clearly has the potential to benefit patients if the trial leads to more effective, less expensive drugs (so all patients can have it) aiming for cure / disease remission.
  2. Investigating whether biomarkers can help to: a) identify patients with severedisease from the outset; b) divide patients into groups that are likely to respond to a given drug (the right drug to the right patient) or vice versa c) identify patients who are likely not to respond to a given drug  which would provide: i) better care as it would avoid delay starting a more effective drug; ii) prevent unnecessary exposure to potentially toxic drugs and iii) avoid wasting NHS money on drugs which are not going to work while it could be utilised for alternative care.
  3. Developing disease and mathematical models to capture health economic impact would also benefit patients, as it would lead to better allocation of precious NHS resources.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.