(MRC DTP) Predicting failure of methotrexate therapy in rheumatoid arthritis patients: statistical approaches to multiple outcomes and repeated observations
Dr J Sergeant
Dr Glen Martin
Prof K Hyrich
Dr S Verstappen
No more applications being accepted
Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Most patients with rheumatoid arthritis begin treatment with the drug methotrexate (MTX). MTX is cheap and is effective for many patients, but does not work for everyone. Indeed, around a third of RA patients stop MTX in the medium term, with a lack of disease control and adverse events each accounting for around half of these discontinuations. After the failure of MTX therapy, patients may progress to different treatments including biologic drugs, which can be vastly more expensive than MTX. If we could accurately predict who is unlikely to benefit from treatment with MTX, then it might be possible to fast-track patients to receive other medications. Doing so would remove the necessity of waiting for MTX therapy to fail in these individuals, during which time their disease may become progressively worse.
This PhD project will aim to develop and test statistical tools for predicting which individuals with RA are unlikely to benefit from treatment with MTX. It will build on earlier work which investigated the extent to which insufficient response to MTX, measured in terms of disease activity, can be predicted using information available before the commencement of MTX . Specific objectives are to undertake prediction that:
1. Accounts for competing risks in MTX failure by simultaneously modelling the outcomes of insufficient control of disease activity and adverse events
2. Exploits both baseline information available before the commencement of MTX and data collected after commencement to dynamically predict MTX failure, allowing comparison of predictive performance pre- and post-commencement of MTX
The supervisory team will provide expertise in statistics, data science, epidemiology and rheumatology. The student will undertake specialist training in prediction modelling, including attending the internationally-leading course on Statistical Methods for Risk Prediction and Prognostic Models at Keele University.
Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.
This project is to be funded under the MRC Doctoral Training Partnership. If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the MRC DTP website www.manchester.ac.uk/mrcdtpstudentships
As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.