Utilising the circadian clock to open new treatment avenues for rheumatoid arthritis

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Julie Gibbs

Organisation - University of Manchester

Type of grant - Career Development Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £434,767

Start date - 1 April 2014

Reference - 20629

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This proposal addresses how the body's own internal timing system, or body clock, regulates elements of the immune system to influence the inflammation underlying rheumatoid arthritis. By gaining a greater understanding of how this clock regulates inflammatory processes, it will be possible to develop new therapeutic strategies for rheumatoid arthritis, which could be rapidly translated to patient benefit.

Why is this research important?

The body clock is an internal timing system which helps humans align their daily life with the outside environment. An intact and functional clock is essential to optimise your immune system in order to maintain health. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by inflammation of the joints, caused by an irregular immune responses, causing pain and loss of movement. Patients often experience significantly worse symptoms during the early morning, reporting more severe joint pain and stiffness upon waking. As such, this study aims to identify the underlying processes responsible for the worsening of joint inflammation in the early morning and how body clock alterations affect inflammatory arthritis.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This study aims to determine whether altering the timing of administration of existing drugs can maximise their therapeutic potential in order to minimise long-term damage to the joints. A basic understanding of the link between inflammatory processes and body clocks may also allow for the generation of new, targeted drugs to more effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis.