A German leading centre of competence for rheumatic and other autoimmune diseases has built up a register for rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. The aim is to offer and extend existing biobanks with comprehensive patient data, serum- and tissue samples from already more than 2000 patients to further international industrial and academic partners. Research and technology cooperation partners are sought to test new biomarkers and to develop novel diagnostic technologies.
The centre of competence for rheumatic and other autoimmune diseases is part of a university medical centre in Germany. They look for partners to use the register for rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus for joint research and development of novel diagnostics. Additionally, the centre of competence is looking for experts to build up a hitherto not existing register for psoriasis arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common chronic disease affecting about 1% of the world population. Taken together with all kinds of inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases around 2 % of the world population are affected.
Rheumatic diseases have multiple characteristics and therefore are difficult to identify by general practitioners.
A constant lack of rheumatology experts in particular in rural areas leads to delayed diagnoses for many patients. In consequence, patients suffer from pain and considerable reduction of mobility, which also causes considerable economic losses in the community of health insurances and in the working environments.
The overall goal is to improve the care and maintain quality of life of patients suffering from RA by finding more biomarkers that allow earlier diagnoses and pave the way for the development of more differentiated therapeutics.
The German medical centre is coordinating a network of medical specialists and researchers in all forms of rheumatic diseases, including rare forms of rheumatism and autoimmune diseases, e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that can cause multi-organ damage (from skin to kidney) and psoriasis arthritis.
The centre is interested in joint research and technology co-operations, either publicly funded or by private industrial financial agreements. By legislative prescriptions and protection of patient data it is not possible in any case to sell or ship the samples for external RTD.
1) RA biobank
In the frame of a nationally financed research project a biobank has been established that is comprised of comprehensive patient data, serum- and tissue samples from already more than 2000 patients. The network is offering this biobank for further joint research and development, to test new biomarkers and to develop novel diagnostic technologies.
The values of the biobank are the well-characterized patients and the longitudinal collection of samples and clinical data. In the early arthritis cohort patients were seen every 3 months for up to 5 years. For the development of predictive biomarkers or companion diagnostics with new targeted therapies it is a valuable tool.
2) SLE biobank
The lupus biobank contains longitudinal data on more than 450 SLE patients. Biobank sampling started more than 15 years ago.
Therefore, valid clinical data were gathered with biomaterial over a long time.
3) Psoriasis arthritis biobank
Joint activities shall be taken to build up a hitherto not existing biobank and research platform for psoriasis arthritis.
Well-defined patient cohorts with different manifestations will serve as the backbone for the biomarker search. So far, there is no predictive or prognostic biomarker in psoriasis arthritis.
The biobank contains longitudinal samples along with the according clinical data both on very early arthritis patients and patients with different subtypes of lupus manifestations (e.g. nephritis versus musculoskeletal). Some predictive biomarkers have already been identified.
The ideal partners should be active in the discovery of drugs and targets in the field of rheumatic arthritis, Lupus erythematosus, psoriasis arthritis or rare similar autoimmune diseases. They should be interested in using and improving or jointly building up the biobanks.
Cooperation is possible within publicly funded research projects or under privately financed technical cooperation agreements.