Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham joined forces with colleagues from seven NHS organisations at a workshop in Oxford to discuss an innovative new approach to inflammatory disease research.

A diverse crowd of discovery scientists, clinicians and healthcare professionals met earlier this month at St Anne's College, Oxford, for the first Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP) workshop.

A-TAP was launched in 2017 to speed up the development of new therapeutics for inflammatory disease. The initiative brings broad expertise from the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham together with healthcare professionals and their patients, from seven NHS centres across the M40 corridor.

Setting the tone, A-TAP lead and Director of Clinical Research at the Kennedy Institute, Professor Chris Buckley said "These are exciting times for experimental medicine. We have new drugs and new ways of designing clinical trials and combining the two in this innovative way will speed up the delivery of medicines to those who need it the most."

In his opening remarks, Prof Buckley also highlighted one of A-TAP's key goals - to build infrastructure and expertise to enable "basket trials", where new drugs are tried out in multiple diseases simultaneously. The drugs will be assessed not only on their impact on the symptoms of diseases, but crucially also on how they change the processes within the cells linked to the disease.

This is particularly relevant for complex inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, where common defects in immune pathways can underlie different types of disease.

A-TAP will initially focus on four inflammatory diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's Syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and spondyloarthropathy. Workshop participants discussed how patient tissue samples and NHS data are being analysed over time to better understand the causes of disease onset and progression. This will facilitate clinical trials that select subgroups of patients most likely to benefit from therapy across disease types. This "stratified pathology" approach is already used in the cancer field with promising results.

The workshop also considered trial design, data collection and storage, and appropriate biological endpoints to measure how drugs affect the underlying cause of disease in tissues.

A-TAP is supported by a £7M funding award from the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research. It benefits from basic science expertise at the Kennedy Institute, NDORMS (Oxford) and translational research capabilities at the Botnar Research Centre, NDORMS (Oxford) and the Institute of Translational Medicine (University of Birmingham).

Researchers or industry partners interested in learning more about A-TAP should contact A-TAP Operations Manager Dr Claire Potter.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

Institute of Translational Medicine (University of Birmingham)

FUNDED BY

Kennedy Trust

Similar stories

Immunology preprint reviews launched in Nature Reviews Immunology

Research

The Oxford-Mount Sinai (OxMS) Preprint Journal Club has partnered with Nature Reviews Immunology to launch a monthly Preprint Watch column.

Drug may boost vaccine responses in older adults

General Research

A preliminary study shows that a drug which helps immune cells self-clean may improve vaccine protection in older adults

Living reviews launched by Oxford and Cardiff in the wake of COVID-19 research

Research

In a combined effort to help COVID-19 researchers the University of Oxford and Cardiff University have launched a series of “living reviews” in Oxford University Press’s new open access journal “Oxford Open Immunology”.

3D imaging reveals the role of blood vessels in hormone production

Research

New research from the Kusumbe Group at the Kennedy Institute has shown a direct correlation between age-related decline in capillary and artery numbers and hormone production in the endocrine system.

Wellcome funding awarded to Oxford team to support research into heart muscle regeneration

Awards Research

An Oxford team from the Centre for Medicines Development, Department of Physiology Anatomy and Genetics and Radcliffe Department of Medicine led by Professor Jagdeep Nanchahal at the Kennedy Institute has been awarded a Wellcome Innovator Award to develop a first in class therapeutic aimed at regenerating heart muscle after heart attack.

An unexpected repair function for neutrophils

Research

In a collaboration with scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), Kennedy researchers have contributed to the discovery that neutrophils have many more functions in the body than previously thought. This finding suggests that neutrophil tissue-specific plasticity could be exploited in designing new treatments for neutrophil driven diseases, including cancer.