The IMIDBio-UK consortium — funded by a £1.7 million ($2.3 million) grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) — will bring together samples and clinical data from more than 40,000 immune-mediated inflammatory disease (IMID) patients in the United Kingdom.
Creators of the biobank say it will be the world’s largest single digital IMID “superhighway,” with access to patient information across the U.K.
Prof. Iain McInnes, director of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation, is leading the consortium, which includes researchers from the University of Glasgow, Newcastle University, the University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, and the University of Manchester.
By searching and analyzing the biobank, researchers may reach a more effective and personalized treatment for IMIDs such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjogren’s syndrome, and autoimmune hepatitis.
“Using this knowledge in future, we will be able to seek new medicines, and importantly, by applying the principles of precision medicine, we will be able to use these new medicines in the right person, at the right time, and at the right dose,” McInnes, also the Muirhead Chair of Medicine at the University of Glasgow, said in a press release.
Despite targeting different organs (skin, joints, or kidneys), IMIDs share some common genetic features, environmental triggers, and inflammatory factors.
Now, the IMIDBio-UK provides researchers with a unique opportunity to find the molecular details of processes shared by IMIDs.
“By working together we will learn from cohorts of patients with seemingly different conditions, such as psoriasis, arthritis, kidney and liver disease, and bring them together to shed new light on the specific causes of each condition individually, but also we hope to find common pathways that drive them collectively,” McInnes said.
The University of Manchester will contribute in the field of inflammatory skin and joint disease. It also hosts the Manchester Molecular Pathology Innovation Centre, which will help in the translation of personalized medicine research into usable tests.
“The formation of IMIDBio-UK is an important first step in uniting the UK’s resources and expertise in personalized care for inflammatory disease,” said Prof. Chris Griffiths of the University of Manchester, foundation professor of dermatology and IMIDBio-UK co-investigator.
“The Manchester team is delighted to be part of this consortium and the opportunities it will provide to enhance patient care,” Griffiths added.