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Immune tolerance: case study

Understanding how genetic factors influence immune cells in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Principal investigators:
Professor Anne Barton
Dr Sebastien Viatte

The problem

Genetic predisposing factors account for roughly 60% of the causes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). More than 100 RA susceptibility single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have currently been identified, yet for most of them, their mechanism of action remains uncertain.

Our work

Using clinical samples from the Biologics in Rheumatoid Arthritis Genetics and Genomics Study Syndicate (BRAGGSS) consortium, we are trying to understand which immune cell types and functions are affected by genetic susceptibility factors and how these pathogenic cell types attack structures in the joints of patients with RA. Based on the outcome of genetic and functional studies on the causes of RA, we aim to develop clinical tests that will help clinicians to tailor treatment options to every individual patient based on their genetic make-up and individual immune profile.