This week saw the implementation of the European project Hippocrates, the goal of which is to improve early detection and treatment of people with psoriatic arthritis.
The project has 26 European partners, including the Arthritis Unit of the Rheumatology Department of Hospital Clínic and the IDIBAPS Inflammatory Joint Disease research group. The professionals involved are Julio Ramírez, Andrés Ponce, Raquel Celis, and Juan Cañete, who is the project coordinator at Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects up to one-third of people with psoriasis. It is the result of a dysfunction of the immune system, which attacks healthy cells and tissue and causes chronic inflammation of the joints and other components of the musculoskeletal system. Apart from the symptoms of cutaneous psoriasis, patients also experience pain, joint stiffness, and fatigue, which affects many aspects of patients’ lives. It can currently be very difficult to diagnose, as no clear diagnostic criteria or definitive laboratory tests exist. Between 5 and 10 million people in the European Union are thought to suffer from this condition.
The Hippocrates initiative has a budget of 21 million euros and will have a duration of 5 years. Its goals include studying the interaction between clinical and environmental factors, the role of genetics, and the molecular pathways involved in the disease. The objective is to enable early diagnosis and a more accurate prediction of the course of the patients in order to provide them with personalized therapy. The project also aims to create an algorithm for diagnosing the disease that can be used by family physicians, dermatologists and rheumatologists.
The Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS team will work on early diagnosis of the disease and prediction of the course of patients, and on the search for biomarkers of the response to the most common treatments used for psoriatic arthritis. To do this, they will provide cohorts of different stages of the disease, with clinical and imaging data, blood samples, and samples of synovial tissue.