Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Studying the trillions of bacteria which share our body space could lead to new treatments for immune diseases including the range of adult and childhood arthritides.

 

We are absolutely delighted with this Strategic Award from Arthritis Research UK. The funding will allow our consortium to push forward with its goal of bridging the gap between microbiome description and function, a key first step in unlocking the potential of the microbiome to yield new therapies for inflammatory diseases. - Professor Fiona Powrie

The bacteria that live in our gut, mouth and elsewhere on our bodies, collectively referred to as the 'microbiome', exert influence over the body’s immune system. Although many of these interactions are beneficial, changes in the microbiome may contribute to the development of immune and inflammatory diseases.

Now, a new consortium led by Professor Fiona Powrie FRS, Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology aims to unlock the link between gut bacteria and the development of immune diseases.

The £2 million research programme is funded by Arthritis Research UK and represents a substantial investment in this area by the charity.

Once defined, manipulation of the microbiome, and in particular specific bacterial species linked to disease, is expected to open up new possibilities for treatment across the range of inflammatory arthritides.

Professor Fiona Powrie explains: 'We are absolutely delighted with this Strategic Award from Arthritis Research UK. The funding will allow our consortium to push forward with its goal of bridging the gap between microbiome description and function, a key first step in unlocking the potential of the microbiome to yield new therapies for inflammatory diseases.'

Using a multidisciplinary approach, the programme brings together an international consortium of world leading scientists from multiple complementary disciplines.

The Oxford team at the Kennedy and the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) is joined by research partners from Birmingham and UCL, as well as collaborators in the US at Harvard University, New York University and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York.

Their extensive clinical, immunological, computational and microbiological expertise places them in a unique position to perform in-depth analysis to define causal relationships between distinct members of the microbiota and inflammatory arthritis.

The programme will shed light on the role of the gut microbiome in early arthritis, established rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and childhood arthritis, and is expected to reveal how manipulation of bacterial communities may present a novel therapeutic for this set of diseases.

The potential benefit from improving our understanding of the relationship between the microbiome and arthritis is huge and could transform healthcare. This research could lead to the development of entirely new treatments or preventative medicines which could be as simple as changing the way you eat.

Dr Stephen Simpson, director of research and programmes at Arthritis Research UK said:

'We hope that this award will help us understand the relationship between the bacteria in our gut and human health, specifically arthritis. This knowledge is absolutely essential if we are to develop new treatments that could one day revolutionise the way we prevent and treat painful and debilitating conditions like inflammatory arthritis.'

 

Image credit: Shutterstock.

Similar stories

Yoshi Itoh wins the International Dupuytren Award 2022

Yoshi Itoh, Associate Professor and Principal Investigator Cell Migration Group at the Kennedy Institute has been awarded the International Dupuytren Award 2022.

Taking a break from immune-suppressing medicines doubles the antibody response to COVID-19 booster vaccination

The Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU) at NDORMS played a key role in the VROOM study which found that pausing immune-suppressing medicines such as methotrexate can increase the response to COVID-19 booster jabs.

Ten Years of Athena Swan in the Medical Sciences Division

2022 marks ten years since the first Athena Swan Bronze applications from the Medical Sciences Division. Ten years later, and all 16 departments in the Division have achieved a Silver Award. We look at NDORMS’ Athena Swan journey.

NDORMS researchers awarded Associate Professor title

The University of Oxford has awarded the title of Associate Professor to Adam Cribbs and Luke Jostins.

Oxford's largest ever study into varicose veins shows need for surgery is linked to genetics

A new international study by Oxford researchers published in Nature Communications, establishes for the first time a critical genetic risk score to predict the likelihood of patients suffering with varicose veins to require surgery, as well as pointing the way towards potential new therapies.

Reflecting on the role of Clinical Director of Trauma and Orthopaedics

In 2021 Professor Andrew Price was appointed Clinical Director of Trauma and Orthopaedics at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. After 9 months in post, we find out what the challenges are and what he’s been able to bring to the role.