Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs when the immune system attacks the joints. Symptoms include painful, swollen joints, stiffness, and fatigue, all of which affect patients’ quality of life. Although RA treatments exist, many patients still struggle to keep their condition under control and many experience unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects of their treatment. Furthermore, there are currently no approved drugs for the early phases of RA.
The RTCure project aims to develop knowledge and tools to aid in the development of treatments for people in the earliest stages of the disease as well as those at risk of developing it. As such, the team will develop and validate new methods to identify people at high risk for RA and tools to monitor the progress of the disease. They will also validate methods to monitor immune tolerance treatments; highly-targeted medicines that stop the immune system’s attacks on the joints while ensuring the immune system remains able to fight off infections.
In the long term, the project hopes that its findings will deliver treatments capable of preventing the disease in those at risk of RA, and curing it in people who are still in the early stages of the disease.