Leeds BRC has a broad portfolio of translational research in musculoskeletal disease. This is focussed on developing early identification and early stratified intervention with the aim of:
- Preventing disease and disability in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (through preclinical diagnosis and prevention, disease phenotyping and precise delivery of targeted therapy)
- Improving the treatment for osteoarthritis, enabling “50 active years after 50” (through molecular/physical therapy, autologous stem cells, acellular scaffolds and joint replacement)
Our Research Themes and Workstreams
Our research is undertaken through the following two Research Themes and seven Workstreams:
- Optimal treatment and preventing disability in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (Workstream one to four)
- Improving the treatment of osteoarthritis (Workstream five to seven)
One: At risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
Lead by Professor Paul Emery.
Aim: In individuals at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, we will expand our local investigations to nationally validate biomarkers, develop risk models, and using stratified populations, develop proof of concept studies to prevent disease progression.
Two: Immunotherapies in rheumatoid arthritis
Lead: Professor Maya Buch
Aim: In early and established rheumatoid arthritis, we will aim for disease cure and remission respectively through the precise use of immunotherapies; by accurate phenotyping of response, identification of response predictors and understanding of refractory rheumatoid arthritis.
Three: Interventions based on stratified prognosis
Leads: Professor Dennis McGonagle and Dr Francesco Del Galdo
Aim: Develop intervention studies through stratified prognosis at different disease stages, with the aims of disease prevention in autoantibody-mediated diseases or disease remission/cure for those with established disease in two areas: systemic sclerosis and psoriatic arthritis.
Four: Drug repurposing and treatment toxicity
Lead: Professor Ann Morgan
Aim: Improve the management of established immune mediated inflammatory diseases through accurate molecular phenotyping applying knowledge of pathogenesis, drug mechanisms and treatment toxicities, particularly infections and those associated with glucocorticoids.
Five: Longer lasting joint replacements
Lead: Professor John Fisher
Aim: Improve durability of hip, knee and ankle joint replacement through enhanced pre-clinical testing,
Population stratification and development of international standards for industry testing by stratifying for population needs, addressing the inherent variability in patient anatomy and disease state and in surgical delivery. Working with industry partners we will reduce the variability and improve function, reliability and patient outcomes in hip, knee and ankle joint replacement.
Six: Acellular scaffolds and regenerative devices for treatment of OA
Lead: Professor Eileen Ingham
Aim: To develop biological acellular scaffolds which can be matched as closely as possible to the properties of the natural tissue to be replaced and develop and apply robust pre-clinical stratified simulation test methods for biological scaffolds in natural joints.
Seven: Non-surgical treatments for OA
Lead: Professor Philip Conaghan
Aim: To use our extensive imaging experience, facilities and unique statistical shape modelling image analysis capabilities to understand temporal and spatial relationships of osteoarthritis pathologies so we can define early osteoarthritis phenotypes for novel pathology-targeted therapies