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Over the last ten years we have focused our research on developing better approaches to the diagnosis of vasculitis.

This is a cross-section of a temporal artery from patient presenting with new onset of headache raise inflammatory markers. The biopsy shows clear evidence of vessel wall inflammation and severe narrowing of the lumen; there giant cells scattered throughout of biopsy
This is a cross-section of a temporal artery from patient presenting with new onset of headache raise inflammatory markers. The biopsy shows clear evidence of vessel wall inflammation and severe narrowing of the lumen; there giant cells scattered throughout of biopsy

Systemic vasculitides are a set of uncommon conditions causing blood vessel inflammation leading to organ damage and which can be fatal in untreated cases. 

We are currently recruiting patients for a very large multi-national study on the Diagnostic and Classification Criteria for Primary Systemic Vasculitis (DCVAS) and have recently completed a study of Temporal Artery Biopsy vs ULtrasound in Diagnosis of GCA (TABUL).

We have a long standing interest in developing disease evaluation tools using clinical information from patients with vasculitis and have devised the Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score and its variants (BVAS) and vasculitis damage index (VDI). Both these tools are used extensively in international studies and trials of systemic vasculitis.

We are working on improving these scores and also in developing training modules to ensure valid use in studies. We developed a training website for this and have collaborated with academics and industrial partners to ensure quality control in disease evaluation.

We are developing biomarkers in vasculitis in collaboration with a number of research groups, through a consortium established to provide a Biobank of blood and biopsy samples for further analysis.

In addition, we are exploring the potential role of imaging as an evaluation tool to measure treatment response in patients with Giant cell arteritis (GCA).

We currently are collaborating with Professor Irina Udalova's group on a project to explore the role of interferon-lambda on neutrophils in patients with vasculitis.

We are particularly interested in the long term outcome of patients with systemic vasculitis. In January 2015 we have published on the relative risk of aortic aneurysm in patients with GCA compared with the general population of the UK. We reviewed the evidence for long term damage in patients with small vessel vasculitis based on the large European cohort that we have been helping to coordinate.

We are also involved in clinical trials of patients with vasculitis and in some of the original European vasculitis study group, trials of different therapies in antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA)-associated vasculitis. We continue to be involved in newer trials of therapeutic agents vasculitis and are currently collaborating with a number of commercial partners to develop protocols for testing new therapies in vasculitis.

 

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