Kolling Institute researcher Professor Lyn March will lead a large, collaborative national trial to improve treatments for those with disabling rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.
Federal Government Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) funding will see more than $2.7 million invested in the project which will involve 400 participants across the country.
Professor March, who is the head of the Department of Rheumatology at Royal North Shore Hospital, has welcomed the funding saying there’s a need for more robust evidence around existing treatment approaches.
“Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are autoimmune musculoskeletal diseases that can cause severe pain, joint destruction, disability and early death,” Lyn said.
“Sadly there is no cure and while some people are able to achieve drug-free remission, the diseases often reoccur.”
Existing treatments include the biologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, which suppress the overactive immune system. These medications have successfully improved people’s quality of life, but they come with risks of significant side effects, including serious infections.
“Ideally, we would like to bring people off these medications when their symptoms subside, but there are no clear guidelines around the best time to do that, or how these therapies can be reduced and stopped,” she said.