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Identifying therapeutic targets that could transform Rheumatoid Arthritis from disease remission into cure

College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences

About the Project

Dr Mariola Kurowska-Stolarska
Prof Vivianne Malmstrom
Dr Thomas Otto
Dr Stefano Alivernini

Project summary:
Remission from symptoms is achievable for arthritis, but there is always the risk of flares. Remission is not the same as cure, and our goal is to discover how to get patients from remission into cure. First, we had to understand What is the biological barrier between remission and cure? We found that in remission, joint inflammation can be temporarily kept at bay by protective macrophages. However, the presence of T and B-cells that mistakenly recognize the tissues of the joint as foreign object persist(autoimmunity). They can overcome the functions of protective macrophages and trigger joint inflammation (flare) at any time. T and B-cell activity is controlled by dendritic cells (DCs). In health, DCs delete the autoreactive T and B-cells. We have found a unique type of DCs in arthritis joints in remission. They are similar, but not identical to the DCs in healthy joints. In this project we will investigate these subtle differences because they might tell us why autoimmunity is not completely eradicated in remission RA. Our aim is to find out how to reprogram remission DCs into healthy normal DCs. We hope that this new understanding will provide new treatment strategies to bring RA patients from remission to cure and can be applicable to other autoimmune diseases.

This MRC programme is joint between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. You will be registered at the host institution of the primary supervisor detailed in your project selection.

All applications should be made via the University of Edinburgh, irrespective of project location via the link below.

Please note, you must apply to one of the projects and you must contact the primary supervisor prior to making your application. Additional information on the application process is available from the link above.

For more information about Precision Medicine and what is required when submitting an application, please visit:

Funding Notes

Start: September 2021

Qualifications criteria: Applicants applying for an MRC DTP in Precision Medicine studentship must have obtained, or will soon obtain, a first or upper-second class UK honours degree or equivalent non-UK qualification, in an appropriate science/technology area. The MRC DTP in Precision Medicine grant provides tuition fees and stipend of at least £15,285 (UKRI rate 2020/21).

Full eligibility details are available: View Website

Enquiries regarding programme:

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