Studying immune cells to predict the onset and progression of rheumatoid arthritis, and predict response to JAK inhibitor medication

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Kulveer Mankia

Organisation - University of Leeds

Type of grant - Accelerating new treatments 2020

Status of grant - Pending Start Date

Amount of the original award - £191,972.44

Start date - 1 February 2022

Reference - 22713

What are the aims of this research?

This study will assess immune cells in the blood of people who are at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers hope to identify changes in cells that occur as the condition develops and test the effects treatments to prevent onset of the condition.

Why is this research important?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing swelling, stiffness and pain. Research has shown that rheumatoid arthritis develops in different stages and that the antibodies found in the blood are also found in the very early stages, years before the condition develops.

However, it is not clear which immune cells and pathways in the blood become active before arthritis develops. This study will give new information about which parts of the immune system influence the development of rheumatoid arthritis in people who are at risk of developing the condition. The researchers will also study if the changes seen in cells are different if people are treated with JAK inhibitor medication.

How will these findings benefit patients?

This study will tell us more about the mechanisms behind the development of rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, it well help us to understand how the condition develops in people who are known to be at risk. The research will also test if treatment with JAK inhibitor medication alters the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, or changes how the condition develops.