National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre
Our Research: Musculoskeletal

Adult inflammatory arthritis

With the NHS currently spending around £8bn on treating inflammatory arthritis, how can we find ‘smarter’ treatments?

Inflammatory arthritis is a term used to describe a group of autoimmune diseases, where the body’s defence system is hyperactive and attacks joint tissue, causing pain, stiffness and joint damage. It includes conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.

Currently, the treatment of inflammatory arthritis is based largely on a trial-and-error approach where different treatments are tried until one is found that is effective without causing side effects. We are working to develop and test strategies to prevent inflammatory arthritis, where possible, and to target the right treatments to the right patients where that isn’t possible, to create a ‘Treat Smarter’ approach.

Through our research we are:

  • Working with dermatology researchers to identify new biomarkers that predict which patients with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis and then test new preventative interventions in that group
  • Validating predictive biomarkers discovered in the lab through clinical trials to help predict which of the inflammatory arthritis treatments will work best in particular patients
  • Working with themes across the BRC to develop and test behavioural interventions for both patients and clinical staff, to better personalise self-management