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Non-genetic markers of treatment response


Treatment response in inflammatory arthritis (IA) is currently determined by assessing the joints for tenderness and swelling and measuring the acute phase response in the blood.

Changes in these measurements take time to occur and we are searching for biochemical and immunological markers of change which precede the clinical changes needed to determine response.


One of the Biomedical Research Unit’s aims is to prescribe to patients the most effective treatment as early in disease as possible. This is accompanied by an urgent need to be able to determine response to treatment at an earlier time than is currently possible.  

What we aim to achieve:

Proteomics and metabolomics offer the possibility to detect clusters of biomarkers, or signatures of change, which are likely to be much more sensitive and specific than a change in a single marker. Managing, monitoring and developing these enabling technologies centrally in a co-ordinated fashion for the research areas at the NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal BRU will be advantageous ensuring that best practice is wide spread, that resources are appropriately directed and that opportunities for training are exploited.

We will also further develop imaging assessments of response.  For example we will examine the Magnetic Resonance (MR) appearance of cartilage and other soft tissue structures. Ultrasound may also play a role in determining the change in the inflammatory component of osteoarthritis (OA) in response to treatment. In addition we will use MR imaging of carotid plaque to assess cardiovascular morbidity in rheumatoid arthritis and SLE.

We aim to develop novel diagnostic tests that can be used to make earlier diagnoses at a time when interventions can prevent disease progressions. A more detailed understanding of pathogenesis and progression of disease can also be exploited to develop new treatments such as biologics or tissue engineering.


What we have achieved

Download the non-genetic markers of treatment response 2014 update to find out how our research is progressing. 



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