Investigating DNA changes to uncover rheumatoid arthritis risk

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Paul Martin

Organisation - University of Manchester

Type of grant - Foundation Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £202,930

Start date - 1 August 2018

Reference - 21745

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Previous research has been successful in identifying genetic changes that increase an individual's chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is currently unclear how exactly these changes lead to disease. Therefore, the researchers are aiming to identify how these genetic changes might increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Why is this research important?

By improving understanding of the disease process, it will allow the development of more effective treatments and better targeting of existing treatments. This research will identify the specific genes which are altered by these genetic changes, and therefore are involved in the development and maintenance of rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers will combine existing knowledge of these genetic changes, with information about how genes are controlled, which is specific to individual cells. This will allow identification of cell processes that are important in rheumatoid arthritis, and help build a complete picture of the disease process. This could allow us to identify subgroups of patients with a greater risk of severe disease or those more likely to respond to certain treatments.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This research has the potential to increase knowledge of why and how some individuals develop rheumatoid arthritis and why it is more severe in some cases. Secondly, it could provide targets for new treatments, or improve the use of existing treatments by allowing doctors to select treatments based on an individual's risk.