Looking at joint tissue to help understand sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis

Lead applicant - Dr Gloria Lliso-Ribera

Organisation - Queen Mary University of London

Type of grant - Clinical Research Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £219,113.17

Start date - 17 September 2018

Reference - 22000

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Many people who have rheumatoid arthritis symptoms test negative for a blood test used to diagnose the condition and are therefore diagnosed with sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis. This research aims to further understand the development of this type of rheumatoid arthritis by looking at tissue from the affected joints.

Why is this research important?

It can be difficult for doctors to predict progression of sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis. There is some evidence that it is clearly a different condition to sero-positive rheumatoid arthritis (those who have a positive blood test), however its relationship to other inflammatory conditions is not well known. Previous results suggest that certain cells and molecules from joint tissue (synovium) can be specific to different inflammatory conditions, however looking at sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis in this way has not really been investigated.

In this research, joint tissue taken from 300 patients at early stage of inflammatory arthritis will be used to test for cells and molecules related to sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis and compared to other forms of inflammatory arthritis to identify markers specific to this condition. Changes in the amount of these markers for sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis present in the tissue will also be assessed over 1 year to see if synovial tissue can be used to predict arthritis progression and patient outcomes.

How will the findings benefit patients?

It is currently difficult to predict the progression of sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis as it is not currently known which molecular markers in tissue are related to the condition. This research may allow us to better understand the onset and progression of sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis and allow better diagnosis by looking at specific markers in the joint tissue.