Glasgow secures new experimental research centre for arthritis

Issued: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 14:00:00 BST

The University of Glasgow has been named as an Arthritis Research UK (ARUK) Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre – the first in Scotland.

The Centre will recruit local patients to test new and existing drugs and to find new approaches that can predict which treatment works best in individuals.

With joint start-up funding of £225,000 over three years from medical research charity Arthritis Research UK and the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office, the centre aims to take forward the recent advances in the treatments available for people with arthritis.

Principal investigator Professor Iain McInnes said: “Glasgow has a long tradition of excellence in the investigation of arthritis treatments, and we’re delighted that the Scottish government has decided to work together with a major medical research charity for the good of Scottish patients.

“We want to use our expertise to answer some important questions: to discover how established medicines work and allow us to use them even more effectively; and to find out why people with arthritis are more disposed to developing heart attacks and strokes, and to becoming depressed. Above all we want to try and understand why arthritis happens in the first place.

“We aim to use current medicines as ‘molecular scalpels’ to find out more about disease, and with that new knowledge make treatment better. For example we want to bring in new tests that we can use to predict which medicines are right for which people at a given point in their disease, and hopefully avoid offering medicines that have a high chance of causing side effects.”

Rheumatoid arthritis affects nearly half a million people in the UK. It is a chronic, disabling condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints.  Although newer biologic treatments such as anti-TNF therapies pioneered by Arthritis Research UK have made a huge difference to patients’ lives, a significant proportion of patients still do not respond to such treatment.

In the team’s first trial of up to 15 patients they will investigate whether giving rheumatoid arthritis patients a particular biologic drug can change their cholesterol metabolism. This could lead to a reduction in the higher than normal levels of heart disease in patients with the condition.

Medical director of Arthritis Research UK Professor Alan Silman said: “There’s a real need to do in-depth testing of the benefits and safety of new drugs in small numbers of patients before large scale trials can begin, and our new experimental arthritis treatment centres will provide the resources to study patients in these key first stage studies.”


For more information contact Stuart Forsyth in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 4831 or email stuart.forsyth@glasgow.ac.uk or Catherine Barber at Arthritis Research UK on 0207 612 7282 or c.barber@arthritisresearchuk.org

 

Notes to Editors

Arthritis Research UK is the leading authority on arthritis in the UK, conducting scientific and medical research into all types of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. It is the UK’s fourth largest medical research charity and the only charity solely committed to funding high quality research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. 

  • Arthritis Research UK has launched a new range of patient information booklets and leaflets, to provide an on-going source of information and support to patients. The resources were written by medical professionals following research into what patients really need. The booklets and leaflets have been specifically developed to meet these needs, designed to be straightforward, clear, completely up to date and jargon free.

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