Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. 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

The Kennedy Institute launches its single cell facility

We spoke to Irina Udalova and Stephen Sansom about the Kennedy’s new single cell facility and how it will enhance research at the Institute and beyond.

New drug offers hope for people with hand osteoarthritis

A new study, published in Science Translational Medicine by researchers at the University of Oxford has identified that Talarozole, a drug that is known to increase retinoic acid, was able to prevent osteoarthritis (OA) in disease models.

Professor Michael Dustin appointed new Chair in Molecular Immunology

A generous gift from the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research has enabled the creation of a new Chair in Molecular Immunology at the University of Oxford.

The Kennedy’s research strongly endorsed following independent review

We recently welcomed our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and the Kennedy Trust Scientific Review Board (TSRB) to the Institute to review our current activities and future plans.

Adalimumab is found to be a cost-effective treatment for early-stage Dupuytren’s disease

Researchers at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Oxford Population Health’s Health Economics Research Centre have found that anti-TNF treatment (adalimumab) is likely to be a cost-effective treatment for people affected by early-stage Dupuytren’s disease.

Mathematician boosts data science research at the Kennedy Institute

Welcome to Yang Luo who has joined the Kennedy Institute as the Principal Investigator of the Luo Group. Her lab is leading the investigation into how genetic variations contribute to diseases of the immune system.