Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 177

Research policy is mostly formulated by principal investigators
(PI): senior researchers who fulfil specified criteria. Together they
form a board of PIs chaired by the head of the department; this
board formulates general rules that deal with the main direction
of research, chronic inflammation in relation to rheumatic
diseases, and the process, especially regarding the use of the
infrastructure, and patient involvement. Thus, PIs are responsible
for management of their own research teams, as well as co-
ordination of research within the whole department. The
department has one clinical research bureau in the context of the
ARC that offers its service to all researchers. It offers an
infrastructure to support grant preparation, a platform for
discussions at different stages of research progress and support
for managing projects.
Present research dealing with the immunopathology of chronic
tissue inflammation (arthritis):
n
Identifying key cellular and molecular pathways driving chronic
tissue inflammation in arthritis using experimental models,
in
vitro
studies on patient material, and proof-of-concept clinical
trials with targeted therapies;
n
Using genomic and genetic approaches to identify, track,
monitor and selectively target dominant disease-associated
lymphoid immune responses;
n
Identifying biomarkers that can predict arthritis and test
interventions to prevent it;
n
Identifying molecular regulation of inflammation and
angiogenesis, in particular the role of signalling in immune-
mediated inflammatory diseases;
n
Evaluating molecular mechanisms of tolerance or resistance
against small molecule (experimental) drugs;
n
Identifying pathogenesis and treatment modalities for
cardiovascular and bone comorbidities;
n
Evaluating pragmatic treatment strategies in early and late
disease, with focus on patient-reported outcomes; and
n
Identifying patients at risk of rapid disease progression.
These research themes are studied in general and especially in
relation to the following focused disease groups:
n
Rheumatoid arthritis;
n
Spondyloarthritis; and
n
Systemic autoimmune diseases, especially systemic lupus
erythematosus (SLE) and systemic sclerosis.
Key researchers at the ARC are, amongst others: Dominique
Baeten, Hans Bijlsma, Maarten Boers, Robert Landewe, Conny van
der Laken,Willem Lems, Mike Nurmohamed, Dirkjan van
Schaardenburg, Cor Verwey, Alexandre Voskuyl and Niek de Vries
(see PubMed for their output).
The ARC brings together over 30 rheumatologists, 15 fellows in
training, 40 researchers – postdocs and PhD students – and many
other professionals, e.g. research nurses, data managers and
other dedicated health professionals; this makes the centre
attractive to patients, students and researchers who want to
co-operate or join. The ARC will be one of the largest
rheumatology centres in western Europe and looks forward to
becoming the preferred partner in different strategic partnerships
with both companies and consortia in Europe and worldwide.
Strengths of the department are:
n
Strongly embedded in basic immunology research, especially
regarding spondyloarthritis (Baeten);
n
Strong knowledge of clinical trials and cohort design and
management (Landewe, Boers);
n
Unique expertise in imaging in rheumatic diseases, including
PET-scan (van der Laken);
n
Innovative tools and good connections in the field of genomics
(de Vries), cell biology and signal transduction (Tas), antidrug
antibodies (Wolbink, Sanquin);
n
Large cohort of patients with preclinical and (early) rheumatoid
arthritis (van Schaardenburg, Nurmohamed, Lems, AMC);
n
Large cohorts of patients with spondyloarthritis (van der Horst,
Baeten, van Denderen); and
n
Large cohorts of patients with systemic autoimmune
diseases, especially scleroderma, vasculitis and SLE
(Voskuyl, Bultink, Hak).
Professor Johannes Bijlsma
Director
Amsterdam Rheumatology and immunology Center
tel :
+31 20 444 5085
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S I X
177
P R O F I L E
H E A L T H : D I S E A S E R E S E A R C H
All these factors will converge in the coming five years in
concrete goals:
Improving early diagnosis
Development and clinical implementation of new diagnostic
tools and algorithms in preclinical disease, allowing prediction
of clinical arthritis with 90% certainty.
Innovative new treatment
The lead in a successful game-changing phase III trial with a
new mode of action drug in arthritis.
Improving current treatment
By being able to select patients who have a bad prognosis,
who have to be treated more aggressively,
versus
those with a
good prognosis who need less intensive treatment.
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