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New arthritis research centre unveiled

11 June 2012

The Arthritis Research UK Cardiff Regional Experimental Arthritis Treatment and Evaluation Centre (CREATE), based in Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, will work alongside volunteer patients from Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board. They'll develop and test drugs used for other conditions to help treat around 50 South Wales patients with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.

With an initial fund worth £115,000 from the medical research charity Arthritis Research UK over the next three years, and additional funding from the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR) and Cardiff University, the Centre will also seek to develop new laboratory tests that will determine the most appropriate therapy for individual patients.

Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are chronic inflammatory joint conditions that result in pain, disability, joint damage and reduced quality of life.

Control over these conditions has improved significantly with the advent of a new class of biological drugs, namely anti-TNF therapy, pioneered and developed by Arthritis Research UK scientists.

Achieving and sustaining remission continues to be the aim of many researchers, and has been shown to be important in arresting joint damage. However, the percentage of patients who attain remission in clinical practice is estimated to be less than 30 per cent.

"We aim to improve the outcome of rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis by developing and testing novel treatments, especially those that have the potential to stop these diseases in their tracks; resulting in higher rates of disease remission,” explained principle investigator, the School of Medicine’s Professor of Rheumatology, Ernest Choy.

Professor Choy and his team will be testing a drug that is being developed for inflammatory bowel disease, on patients who have failed to respond to anti-TNF therapies.

Medical director of Arthritis Research UK Professor Alan Silman said: "There’s a real need to do in-depth testing of the benefits and safety of new drugs in small numbers of patients before large scale trials can begin, and our new experimental arthritis treatment centres will provide the resources to study patients in these key first stage studies.”

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