Collaboration to identify relapse triggers of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Oxford BioDynamics collaboration to identify biological factors that trigger disease relapses in Rheumatoid Arthritis

UK epigenetic biomarkers-specialising biotechnology company, Oxford BioDynamics, has entered a collaboration to identify the biological factors that trigger disease relapses (“flares”) in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Oxford BioDynamics is one of six consortium partners to examine and address why immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) remit and relapse, with a particular focus on RA.

The consortium, which consists of three UK universities, one German commercial company, the NHS and Oxford has been awarded £2.8m from the Medical Research Council.

Nothing is known of the factors that trigger disease relapses.

The study is entitled the BIO-FLARE (Biological factors that limit sustained remission in Rheumatoid Arthritis).

Oxford BioDynamics’ role within the consortium is to use its technology platform, EpiSwitch, to identify epigenetic biomarkers in a RA patient population that are associated with impending relapse in RA.

Facts about RA

Around 10 million people in the UK have a form of arthritis, of which almost 700,000 have RA. There is no known cure for the condition, which causes joint pain and swelling, stiffness and fatigue.

Without adequate therapy, the average life expectancy for a patient with RA may be shortened by 3-7 years, and those with severe forms of RA may die as much as 10-15 years earlier than expected.

The work could lead to the development of an epigenetic-based prognostic test.

Christian Hoyer Millar, CEO of Oxford BioDynamics, commented:

“Whilst a considerable amount is understood about RA aetiology and pathogenesis, nothing is known of the factors that trigger disease relapses, changing the disease from an inactive to an active state.”

“The work we will undertake as part of the BIO-FLARE study has the potential to lead us to the development of an epigenetic-based prognostic test for RA flares, an important unmet medical need.”

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