Developing a method for monitoring muscle inflammation

Disease - Myositis

Lead applicant - Dr Alexander Oldroyd

Organisation - University of Manchester

Type of grant - Clinical Research Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £134,818.20

Start date - 20 August 2018

Reference - 21993

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies are a group of conditions that cause muscle inflammation, which is termed myositis. This research aims to develop and test a system to continuously monitor myositis in order to improve treatment and prevent irreversible muscle damage.

Why is this research important?

If left untreated muscle inflammation can irreversibly damage the muscle and lead to disability. Usually the level of inflammation is assessed during hospital appointments, however muscle inflammation may worsen between appointments, meaning treatment may be too late to prevent muscle damage. The system to be developed in this research will allow monitoring in between hospital appointments. It will involve an app that people with myositis use daily to fill out questionnaires about their disease activity, as well as wearing a small device to measure changes in walking pattern, which is a marker of muscle inflammation.

A patient participation group will help in the development of the app and the wearable device, before it is tested for 90 days by 30-40 patients with myositis. This should allow researchers to identify changes in questionnaire responses that are connected to changes in disease activity measured by the patch, to ensure that the system gives accurate measurement of overall disease activity.

How will the findings benefit patients?

The suitability of this system will be explored in patient focus groups with doctors specialising in inflammation and myositis. If successfully developed for clinical use it could allow constant, remote monitoring of people with inflammation so that doctors can be notified of worsening myositis. This could lead to quicker treatment and prevent potential muscle damage and disability.