Michelle Hill, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and The University of Queensland, Australia
The last decades saw a steady increase in the incidence of rheumatic and autoimmune diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA) rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Rheumatic and autoimmune diseases (RAD) are characterised by inflammation of joints, muscles, and connective tissues around joints and bones. Apart from the debilitating mobility and pain, RAD patients are also at increased risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Given the huge socioeconomic impact of RAD, broad research efforts have been dedicated these diseases worldwide.
The RAD B/D-HPP initiative was launched in 2017 by Francisco J. Blanco (Rheumatology Department, INIBIC-Complejo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruña in Spain) with co-chair Paul J. Utz from Stanford Department of Medicine, USA). Currently, 6 research groups from 5 countries participate in RAD-HPP, but the collaborative network has already extended to Cardiovascular-HPP and Chromosome 16-HPP .
After establishing the networks and promoting visibility of the new initiative, the immediate scientific goals of RAD-HPP are to define the proteome of human joint tissues (cartilage, synovial membrane, subchondral bone), and to assemble prioritized lists of proteins clinically relevant in RAD using the ‘popular proteins’ strategy with text mining tools. Collaborations within the RAD-HPP have already resulted in several publications in 2017, including circulating biomarkers for knee radiographic osteoarthritis , use of protein array to discover and validate biomarkers for Osteoarticular Pathologies , and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis.
To spread the word outside of proteomics research circles, RAD-HPP members presented their proteomics work at key RAD clinical meetings around the globe in 2017. These included Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) World Congress in Las Vegas (USA), the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology-EULAR in Madrid (Spain), Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in San Diego (USA), and XLIII Congress of the Spanish Rheumatology Society in Bilbao (Spain).
To boost the development and utility of quantitative proteomics assays, RAD-HPP members conducted focused proteomics training sessions in 2017, with highlights being sessions at “Cutting Edge Osteoarthritis” Symposium at Pembroke College, Oxford, and “Proteomics in rheumatic diseases” lecture at a Summer School on Platform Technologies and Big Data applications in Precision Medicine, in Santander, Spain.
With the synergistic international effort and strong clinical translational focus, the RAD-HPP initiative is poised to realise the utility of proteomics in RAD diagnosis and management.