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Towards Early diagnosis and biomarker validation in Arthritis Management (EURO-TEAM)
Start date: Nov 1, 2012, End date: Oct 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

An ideal intervention in a chronic inflammatory disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) would be a preventive one. In order to develop preventive strategies and therapies two key developments need to occur: (1) Biomarkers need to be identified that can be used to predict an individual’s risk of developing RA. (2) Modifiable disease mechanisms need to be identified and characterized in the early phases of disease. The key objective of the TEAM consortium is to specifically identify diagnostic biomarkers and disease mechanisms operating during the transition from health to rheumatoid arthritis. Our consortium will achieve this by developing a collaborative, integrated programme of work that links researchers with key SMEs involved in biomarker development to produce a “personalized predictive bioprofile” for patients destined to develop RA. The Euro-TEAM consortium will deliver a step change in the development of biomarkers and diagnostic kits that are timely, strategically important for European SMEs, and based on a disease (RA) in which concrete genetic and environmental risk factors have already been established. Firstly, it will directly compare biomarkers in the preclinical phases of disease with established markers in the clinical phases. Secondly, it will look beyond the synovium interrogating lymphoid, lung and periodontal tissue in a first-in-class approach to measuring systemic changes in the earliest phases of disease. Thirdly, it will place great emphasis on understanding why synovial inflammation resolves in some individuals and develop biomarkers of this “reverse” phase. Fourthly, it will explore a key cell type (stromal cells) that has been almost completely ignored in current biomarker studies. Finally, it will directly involve patients and other specialists, particularly from the fields of genetics, ethics and patient and public involvement in helping to visualize and communicate risk following a positive biomarker test.

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