Clinical Research Fellow
Summary of Research
Supervisor(s): Dr. Frances Humby
Research title or area: Pathobiology of Early Arthritis Cohort (PEAC)
Research description: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is the commonest form of inflammatory arthritis and is characterised by a chronic erosive arthritis. RA is a clinically heterogeneous disease with wide variations in degree of joint damage and some 40% of patients resistant to therapy. The target organ in RA is synovial tissue and previous data have suggested that the synovial immune cell infiltrate and molecular signature is diverse although whether this relates to clinical phenotype, and moreover disease outcome including response to biologic therapy is poorly understood. This PhD project aims to exploit the unique biomedical resource offered by the pathobiology of early arthritis cohort (PEAC http://www.peac-mrc.mds.qmul.ac.uk) established by EMR in 2007 and currently accessing clinical and biological samples from over 300 patients with early inflammatory arthritis. The overall hypothesis will be to examine in a treatment naive early arthritis cohort (PEAC) whether baseline synovial cellular and/or molecular signatures predict outcome and or response to therapy. Specific aims are to investigate whether:(i) diverse baseline cellular and molecular synovial markers significantly associate with clinical diagnostic categories, (ii) the integration of synovial pathobiological markers into clinical models of disease outcome enhance performance, and (iii) baseline synovial pathobiology predicts disease outcome/response to therapy at 2 year follow up. The PEAC cohort is a unique biomedical resource both in terms of patient number and disease stage/characteristics. This project will offer an opportunity to develop clinical and research methodological skills within a translational research department, including training in bioinformatics, clinical research skills (e.g. musculoskeletal ultrasound evaluation, radiographic damage scoring) and develop experience in immunohistochemical and gene expression analysis of synovial samples.
Frances C. Humby, Farida Al Balushi, Gloria Lliso, Alberto Cauli and Costantino Pitzalis. Can Synovial Pathobiology Integrate with Current Clinical and Imaging Prediction Models to Achieve Personalised Healthcare in Rheumatoid Arthritis? Front. Med. | doi: 10.3389/fmed.2017.00041