Investigating factors that influence the severity of rheumatoid arthritis

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis

Lead applicant - Professor Gordon Brown

Organisation - University of Aberdeen

Type of grant - Project Grant

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £210,000

Start date - 1 May 2016

Reference - 21164

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This research group has previously identified a new molecule called MICL which is found on the surface of cells of the immune system. This study will investigate how this molecule influences rheumatoid arthritis.

Why is this research important?

There are around 400,000 adults in the UK with rheumatoid arthritis, and approximately 20,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. At its most severe form, rheumatoid arthritis is a crippling, painful and severely life-limiting disease.

MICL has been shown to be a target for antibodies found in rheumatoid arthritis patients. When these antibodies bind to the MICL molecule it increases the severity of arthritis in the patient.

Investigating this process could lead to the discovery of new ways of controlling how bad the arthritis can become and will help doctors understand why some patients’ arthritis becomes more severe than others.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This offers an entirely new approach in understanding how rheumatoid arthritis advances, which could lead to the development of  new ways to diagnose and treat this debilitating condition.