IMI launches €22.7m project targeting systemic autoimmune diseases

18 February 2014

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has launched a new research project, called PRECISESADS, to use innovative diagnostic technology to relate systemic autoimmune disease (SAD) to detectable changes in individual molecular signatures.

The project will study at least 2000 patients living with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis (SSc), Sjögren’s syndrome (Sjs), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), primary antiphospholipid syndrome (PAPS) and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) and 600 healthy controls. It will aim to identify overlapping clusters of individuals across these diseases that share recognisable molecular features and who consequently may benefit from treatments targeted to address these shared elements of pathology. In addition, kidney and skin biopsies will be analysed to discover new molecular markers of severe kidney disease and skin fibrosis.

The programme team for PRECISESADS will meet for the first time this week at the Brussels Headquarters of UCB, its EFPIA lead partner.

EFPIA project leader for PRECISESADS Prof Chris Chamberlain of UCB said, “This is a remarkable opportunity for long term collaboration across Europe which allows us to share expertise, enthusiasm and resources to help discover new ways to help patients with autoimmune disease”

Managing Entity project leader for PRECISESADS Prof Alarcón Riquelme said, “Our aim is to find the best biomarkers and facilitate their study to accelerate diagnosis and aid therapeutic decision-making”

In all, 23 academic and 5 industrial partners from 12 countries spread across Europe, will work for 5 years with a budget of €22.7 million, €9.9 million of which comes from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework for Research (FP7), and €9.8 million from in-kind contributions by the pharmaceutical companies participating in the project.

Results will be widely shared to deliver a new molecular taxonomy of SAD that can be directly accessed by physicians, patients, regulators and drug developers to help define, refine and discover better treatments for SAD.

More information

See the IMI website: 

Harry Wood


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