In national competitions, we have won the Arthritis Research UK (AR-UK), Early Arthritis Treatment Centre (Pitzalis, Perretti, Sasieni, Lemoine) and partner Oxford University in the AR-UK Centre of Excellence in the Pathogenesis of Osteoarthritis (Dell’Accio). We won membership of the NIHR Translational Research Collaborative in Rheumatology (Pitzalis) to bring new therapies into the UK. This translational work is complemented by our attention to harnessing opportunities for therapeutic innovation. For instance; with a Wellcome Trust Health Innovation Challenge Award (£1M) and NIHR funding we are evaluating repositioning the anti-malarial therapeutic artesunate and oxypentiphylline and influence over inflammation in ischaemia reperfusion injury (Thiemermann, with Brohi) after trauma and in end-stage renal damage (Yaqoob). We are assessing the potential of targeting the resolution of inflammation and have licensed or co-developed intellectual property with Amgen and Unigene. With MRC technology we are developing Annexin A1 receptor and melanocortin 3 receptor small molecules. By integrating approaches using small molecules with biologics or gene therapy e.g. latent activated protein (LAP) technologies (Chernajovsky) we intend to increase specificity and selectivity.
We also have IP-protected cutting-edge programmes on novel tissue-specific delivery approaches (see above). In addition, we have a research focus on identifying biomarkers of disease and have a particular interest inmonitoring the profile of cytokines released in affected glands, and presence of auto-antibodies, in Sjögren’s patients (Bombardieri). A new line of investigation on the use of microparticles for disease diagnostics and patient stratification is emerging (Perretti).