Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when external factors (i.e., smoking) interact in people with a genetically predisposed immune (defence) system, to somehow cause arthritis. Why this happens and especially why the joint is attacked is very uncertain. Furthermore, rheumatoid arthritis is not the same in all people and response to current therapies is not universal. Why this happens is also very uncertain. To tackle these issues we are:
- Intensively studying a variety of cells present in people with rheumatoid arthritis, the chemicals they produce and how the joint tissue itself responds
- Alongside this, we are studying different groups of people with rheumatoid arthritis (early and established disease, treatment responders and non-responders), to gain insight into our understanding of rheumatoid arthritis and how to treat people.
- Using experimental models, state-of-the-art imaging and sophisticated cellular, molecular biology, and computational techniques, to make an encyclopaedia of the molecules that perpetuate disease
- Integrating all our new knowledge in a ‘virtuous discovery cycle’ to reinforce our understanding, so we can eventually progress towards a cure in rheumatoid arthritis.
The three universities provide complementary expertise to allow us to progress towards a cure at a faster rate than we would if we were working on our own.