RT Cure - Rheuma Tolerance for Cure
In line with IMI2 goals for improved therapies and precision medicine, the aim of this proposal is to prevent and treat RA or its progression by inhibiting maturation/expansion of pathogenic autoimmune responses through immune tolerising treatments of subjects not only in early stages of joint inflammation (undifferentiated arthritis and early RA) but also in even earlier defined stages i.e. before onset of joint inflammation, when patients have arthralgia and/or bone loss, or sub-clinical stages of joint inflammation. Today, no drugs are approved for these early phases of RA development, where symptoms such as pain and fatigue cause major loss of life quality and where successful interference would prevent onset of disease. Thus, an important part of our work will be to achieve a better understanding of this as yet unexplored phase of disease. In the proposed project we will develop and validate new methods to identify individuals at high risk for RA, tools to monitor disease progress and expand and further develop cohorts suitable for these purposes. Furthermore we will validate and standardise methods to monitor immune tolerance to be used in clinical trials for tolerising therapies for RA. The aim is thus to interfere with the specific immune reactions that contribute to RA symptoms in such a way that a specific and long-lasting therapeutic effect (ultimately a cure) is accomplished for a major proportion of RA patients and prevention of diseases is accomplished in individuals at high risk for RA. Investigator-initiated as well as company-sponsored clinical trials in well stratified patient groups will be performed in collaboration with SMEs and/or contributing pharma companies and their immune effects studied using the same panel of biomarkers allowing for standardisation across protocols. Our ambition is also to disseminate our experiences from RA to other rheumatic and other immune-mediated diseases.