RTCure logo


Start Date
End Date
IMI2 - Call 9
Grant agreement number

Type of Action: 
RIA (Research and Innovation Action)

IMI Funding
6 000 000
EFPIA in kind
6 625 000
1 221 866
Total Cost
13 846 866


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.

Achievements & News

RTCure: A novel, preventive approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis
February 2019

IMI’s RTCure project aims to find ways to prevent and cure rheumatoid arthritis by tackling the autoimmune disease in the very early stages, before debilitating symptoms occur. In an interview with the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Information Centre, scientific coordinator Martina Johannesson at the Karolinska Institutet explains the project’s approach.### ‘Studies of events that precede the development of joint inflammation demonstrate that different molecular mechanisms may be involved in these early phases of the disease. In RTCure, we want to identify and treat the disease as early as possible, before any damage occurs,’ she says. ‘We aim to accomplish this by inhibiting autoimmune responses through treatments that generate immunological tolerance, preventing the immune system from acting against the body’s own cells.’ By studying diverse patients and biomarkers, RTCURE will lay the groundwork for the development and use of different medications based on specific individual disease indicators, enabling targeted and personalised therapy with potential applications in the treatment of other autoimmune diseases in addition to rheumatoid arthritis. ‘The potential impact of RTCURE on the prevention and therapy of rheumatoid arthritis is significant,’ Johannesson says. ‘This treatment approach would prevent many people from developing autoimmune diseases in the first place and enable more effective therapies for current patients, reducing healthcare costs, lost work days and improving quality of life.’

Participants Show participants on map

EFPIA companies
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Corp, Princeton, NJ, United States
  • Glaxosmithkline Research And Development LTD., Brentford, Middlesex, United Kingdom
  • Janssen Pharmaceutica Nv, Beerse, Belgium
  • Pfizer Limited, Sandwich, Kent , United Kingdom
  • Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GMBH, Frankfurt / Main, Germany
  • UCB Biopharma SPRL, Brussels, Belgium
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands
  • Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • Fondazione Per L'Istituto Di Ricerc A In Biomedicina, Bellinzona, Switzerland
  • Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • King'S College London, London, United Kingdom
  • Medizinische Universitaet Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • Semmelweis Egyetem, Budapest, Hungary
  • The University Of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • The University Of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia
  • Universitatsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany
  • University Of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • University Of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Anocca AB, Karlskrona, Sweden
  • Apitope International Nv, Diepenbeek, Belgium


Project coordinator
Project leader