Predictors of disease relapse in polymyalgia rheumatica: Dr Clare Owen

Tuesday, 28 Feb 2017

Claire Owen Final

Can you describe the aim of your research in 10 words?

To identify predictors of disease relapse in polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR).

 What do you know/have discovered about this topic so far?

Disease relapse is commonplace amongst patients with PMR and our current approach to treatment with a weaning course of low-dose glucocorticoid therapy typically proves inadequate for symptom control. Additionally, the costs of steroid-induced complications incurred by PMR patients are often forgotten.

What aspect of this research excites you the most?

Using sophisticated imaging technology like whole body PET/CT to shed new light on the distinctive pathology that characterises PMR.

What’s your Holy Grail – the one thing you’d like to achieve in your research?

To characterise the distinct subset of patients with PMR that relapse with standardised low-dose glucocorticoid therapy and change the treatment paradigm that is employed in this group.

What has been/will be your biggest hurdle?

Without doubt, recruiting patients has and continues to be the biggest hurdle owing to stringent inclusion criteria regarding prior glucocorticoid exposure.

How long before your work impacts patient care?

We’re working towards completing our initial study involving patients with newly diagnosed PMR by the end of this year. Following this, further work examining PMR patients with long-term refractory disease will begin. Hopefully within the next few years!

Who has inspired you and why?

I have been very fortunate to have some wonderful mentors during my clinical and research career to date, particularly my current PhD supervisor A/Prof Russell Buchanan. I also greatly admire the work of pre-eminent researchers in this field such as Prof. Connie Weyand and Dr Sarah Mackie.

If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be?

Glasses, my golden retriever, family photos.

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