Oxford BioDynamics and Kings College London to advance rheumatoid arthritis treatment

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Rheumatoid arthritis Clinical trial Clinical research Clinical trials

Oxford BioDynamics (OBD) and King’s College London (KCL) have partnered to use OBD’s EpiSwitch technology to identify patients at risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who can benefit from abatacept treatment.

The collaboration comes on the back of the successful APIPPRA trial – the largest RA prevention trial to date, which investigated the biological antirheumatic drug and was led by Professor Andy Cope.

According to trial data, 92.8% of patients treated with abatacept were RA-free at the end of the one year of treatment.

However, 25% of treated patients who initially showed response subsequently developed RA, highlighting the need for improved stratification tools to identify high-risk individuals, OBD said.

In the immediate follow-up of the trial, researchers at KCL have now engaged OBD’s EpiSwitch to identify which patients are at the highest risk of progressing to RA and are likely to benefit from the therapeutic intervention with abatacept, in both the short and long term.  

“There are currently no drugs available that prevent this potentially crippling disease. The initial results from the APIPPRA trial could be good news for people at risk of arthritis. We are excited about our collaboration with Oxford Biodynamics and the early results in helping us identify patients at highest risk and how to reduce it. EpiSwitch technology is delivering biomarkers of high biological relevance,” Professor Andrew Cope said.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common chronic inflammatory immune-mediated disease of joints, afflicting more than 500,000 in the UK and another 1.5M in the U.S. If not adequately treated, the condition leads to destruction of synovial joints and significant disability.

RA is costly to individuals and their families with one third of patients with arthritis stopping work within two years of onset because of the deterioration in quality of life.

In the UK, RA costs are estimated to be in the region of £5 billion per year through direct costs to the NHS and indirect costs associated with early mortality and loss of productivity.

Dr Alexandre Akoulitchev, chief scientific officer at OBD, added: “With fast adoption of EpiSwitch 3D genomic biomarkers across many fields, our collaboration with Professor Cope is of particular importance.

“The value delivered by our proven biomarker technology in the field of prognostic and predictive biomarkers in oncology, should and would be matched by applications in rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment of autoimmune conditions could greatly benefit from the accuracy and robustness of blood-based EpiSwitch readouts. With regards to delivering benefits to patients and health system economics, there is no time to lose.”

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