Rheumatoid arthritis

Sydney gets Centre for Research Excellence for inflammatory arthritis


Prof Lyn March

A Centre for Research Excellence to improve care for inflammatory arthritis will be based at the Kolling Institute, Sydney, with $2.5 million funding from the latest round of NHMRC grants.

The investment will fund the centre and its related research projects over the next five years, led by rheumatologist Professor Lyn March who holds conjoint appointments with the University of Sydney and the Royal North Shore Hospital.

According to the Kolling Institute, the research efforts will be backed by a large team within the centre as well as leading national collaborators from universities across the country. Researchers from the A3BC (Australian Arthritis and Autoimmune Biobank Collaborative), the Institute of Bone and Joint Research and the Sutton Arthritis Laboratory will have a key role.

“We will build on our national data-base and biospecimens bank (A3BC-ARAD) to collect a broad range of patient-reported, biological, environmental and health information to unlock the answers using big-data analysis. We will build a resource and workforce to continue to look for cures to deliver the best outcomes for patients and society,” the funding announcement stated.

Professor March said the Centre for Research Excellence represents a tremendous achievement and follows many years of work developing a national registry and biospecimens collection to improve health outcomes for those living with inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune conditions.

“We are delighted to launch this nationally significant program which aims to identify the best treatment pathways for men, women and children living with inflammatory arthritis. Importantly, we’ll be working to confirm the best options for symptom relief, with the least risk of side effects,” she said.

“As the lead national site, we will be looking to expand our national registry and biospecimens collection and our rheumatology research community. This will put us in the best position to broaden our understanding of the complex condition and improve health outcomes through prevention, prediction and precision medicine. And to one day find a cure.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for collaboration between two unique longitudinal collections combining patient outcomes with biospecimens, being led out of the Kolling Institute and Northern Sydney Health, the BioHEART and the A3BC.”

Professor March paid tribute to the local team who developed the initiative including Associate Professor Meilang Xue, Dr Craig Willers, Dr Marita Cross, Dr Tom Lynch, Dr Lara Bereza-Malcolm, Dr Rani Sinnathurai, Haiyan Lin, Helen Martin, Associazte Professor Sean O’Neill and Professor Chris Jackson.

“A key part of our project will see us partner with leading cardiologist Professor Gemma Figtree and her research team to explore the links between inflammation, microbiome, the heart and the joints,” she added.

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