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Molecular map in systemic autoimmune diseases

A €22.7 million five-year project will see several large pharmaceutical companies work together with universities, small and medium-sized enterprises, patient groups and regulators with the aim to deliver new treatments for systemic autoimmune disease.
On the 1st of February, in Brussels, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint undertaking between the European Union and the pharmaceutical industry association EFPIA, which exists to speed up the development of better and safer medicines, launched an exciting new research project.
The new collaborative effort, working under the name of ‘PRECISESADS’, and led by Prof Marta Alarcon Riquelme from the Centre for Genomics and Oncological Research (GENYO) at the City of Granada, Spain, brings together an extensive network of European industrial, clinical and academic experts looking to use innovative diagnostic technology to relate systemic autoimmune disease (SAD) to detectable changes in individual molecular signatures.
The clinicians and scientists leading this collaboration 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 aiming 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.