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Professors Laura Coates and Dani Prieto-Alhambra will take major roles in a new European Commission project to develop innovative personalised treatment options for people affected by psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis research

The HIPPOCRATES project (Promoting Early Identification and Improving Outcomes in Psoriatic Arthritis) is a multi-centre collaboration bringing together 26 world-class clinical, scientific, and data analysis partners across the EU to address questions around Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). PsA is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory disease that affects joints and other components of the musculoskeletal system, together with skin involvement, in an estimated 5-10 million individuals in the EU. 

Professor Laura Coates said: “Early diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis is very challenging, leaving patients often facing a significant delay before the disease can be confirmed. At the moment there are no blood tests to diagnose psoriatic arthritis and we cannot predict which patients with psoriasis are likely to go on to develop joint problems. After diagnosis there are differing and suboptimal responses to treatments which could lead to a poor outcome for patients. The HIPPOCRATES project aims to address these unmet needs and improve patients’ quality of life.”  

The study will analyse a set of unique datasets created from European PsA patient studies, and a library of liquid and tissue bio-samples. The data will follow a logical disease timeline from skin psoriasis, early PsA, first therapeutic choice and first biological choice. The consortium will also establish a new study recruiting 25,000 patients with psoriasis across Europe to study the early development of PsA.  

Dani Prieto-Alhambra, Professor of Pharmaco- and Device Epidemiology said: “We are excited to have access to large international data that will help improve patient care. Our work will help patients and clinicians to identify early interventions to prevent and manage psoriatic arthritis” 

Running for 5 years, the key goals of the HIPPOCRATES study are to: 

  1. Identify molecular signals associated with the development of PsA in patients with psoriasis, with a view to developing PsA prevention studies. 
  2. Create an algorithm to diagnose early PsA in patients with skin psoriasis or those with early undifferentiated inflammatory arthritis.  
  3. Identify biomarkers to predict where patients may respond poorly to treatment, and identify conditions where precision medicine treatment may be more effective. 
  4. Discover the molecular basis of PsA to facilitate future drug discovery. 
  5. Develop diagnostic digital tools and algorithms for use in clinical settings. 

Formed as a transdisciplinary consortium, the project team comprises 26 partner institutions from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, led by University College Dublin. 

“We anticipate that the advances provided by HIPPOCRATES will result in significant new developments that improve patients’ quality of life” says Prof. Oliver FitzGerald, Newman Clinical Research Professor at University College Dublin, Conway Institute for Biomedical and Biomolecular Research, Ireland coordinator of the HIPPOCRATES consortium.

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