The Arthritis Research UK Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre (CREATE), based in Cardiff University, has been unveiled with the promise of stopping the condition in its tracks.
CREATE, housed at the university’s School of Medicine, is to work alongside volunteer patients to test drugs used in other conditions in order to help treat around 50 South Wales patients with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.
The practice of achieving and sustaining remission is the Holy Grail for most researchers with the percentage of patients who attain remission in clinical practice estimated to stand at less than 30 per cent.
As well as this, the centre has also set its stall out to try and concoct new laboratory tests which will determine the most appropriate therapy for individual patients.
First up on the to-do list for researchers is the testing of a drug that is being developed for inflammatory bowel disease on patients who have failed on anti-TNF therapies.
Cardiff University’s professor of rheumatology, Ernest Choy, said: “We aim to improve the outcome of rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis by developing and testing novel treatments.
“Especially those that have the potential to stop these diseases in their tracks; resulting in higher rates of disease remission.”
The centre has been made possible thanks to start-up funding of £112,500 from medical research charity Arthritis Research UK over the next three years while additional funding is also set to come from the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR) and Cardiff University.
Medical director of Arthritis Research UK, professor Alan Silman, said: “There’s a real need to do in-depth testing of the benefits and safety of new drugs in small numbers of patients before large scale trials can begin.
“Our new experimental arthritis treatment centres will provide the resources to study patients in these key first stage studies.”
Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are chronic inflammatory joint conditions characterised with pain, disability, joint damage and a reduced quality of life.