NIH releases first datasets from program to accelerate therapies for arthritis, lupus
By Trish Reynolds and Greg Lavine at the National Institutes of Health
Datasets characterizing individual cells in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus disease tissue from the Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus(AMP RA/SLE) Phase I study are now available to the research community. Scientists from across the biomedical research community can access the AMP RA/SLE datasets to explore important research questions about these autoimmune conditions.
“This pioneering program seeks to speed the development of new ways to combat a range of devastating diseases that affect millions of people,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D, Ph.D. “AMP RA/SLE is entering an exciting phase as experts around the world will begin to mine this invaluable biomedical resource in search of tomorrow’s cures.”
This study used state-of-the-art technologies to analyze individual cells from the lining of the joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis and the kidneys from people with lupus from research cohorts whose clinical characteristics were well-studied. Other research tools tend to examine signals from across populations of cells, and in the process may miss important factors coming from only a few individual cells. By focusing on single cells, researchers can tease out the contributions of specific pathways inside these cells that may play a role in disease, providing a new approach to understanding autoimmunity.
Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are autoimmune diseases that can last a lifetime, cause significant disability, greatly reduce quality of life and are associated with increased risk of early death. These disorders share similar flaws in immune function and regulation, leading to inflammation that damages tissues. People with these conditions need more and better treatments, as some fail to respond to existing therapies.
The newly released information holds clues for potential research targets that may lead to future treatment options. Availability of the data expands the search for genes, proteins, biological pathways and other factors that influence these conditions. Researchers mining the data can seek to identify treatment targets to develop medicines for diseases of interest. The data also has potential implications for precision medicine, as AMP RA/SLE researchers identify differences in the pathways active in the tissue of different patients.
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