Thursday, 12 December 2013

Prof John Isaacs gives the Sir Michael Perrin Lecture at the RCP, London, 2013

On 18th November Professor John Isaacs was invited to give the Sir Michael Perrin Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians (London).  The title of his talk was: Biosimilars – what are they and are they safe?


Monday, 2 December 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis Centre of Excellence

On Friday, 29th November 2013, Newcastle hosted the opening Internal Science Meeting for the new Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis Centre of Excellence(RACE).

Professors Iain MacInnes, John Isaacs and Chris Buckley led the three teams from Glasgow, Newcastle and Birmingham in a discussion of the science and processes by which researchers would leverage the full benefits of the Centre.

In a lively meeting that bodes well for the future of the Centre the three teams identified key collaborations and PhD projects essential to the success of the Centre.

This project should lead directly to the development of novel treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

The next meeting is likely to be hosted by the team in Birmingham early in 2014.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Biologics and Biosimilars in RA

Professor John Isaacs shares his views on the importance of biologics and the potential for biosimilars in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Early Diagnosis = Better Prognosis?

Arthritis Research UK recommend people visit their GP as an early diagnosis can make a big difference. May be useful:

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Frontiers of Ageing

Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre

Frontiers of Ageing Research:
Understanding Prevention

Thursday 17th October 2013
10:00 - 15:00

Bamburgh Suite
St. James' Park

Arthritis Research UK NEAT Centre

New Newcastle research centre launched to speed up drug development | Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Research Announcement

BBC North East extensively featured Arthritis Research UK's Newcastle arthritis centre.

For more info click here:

NEAT Announcement on BBC Radio Newcastle

Listen to the BBC Newcastle announcements launching the Newcastle Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre.

Around 24 minutes
Around 1h 39 mins

Thursday, 3 October 2013

New centre to speed up development of arthritis drugs

Researchers will be testing drugs for other conditions to see if they can be used to help people with arthritis.

Professor John Isaacs and his team have been awarded funding of £225,000 over three years to set up the Arthritis Research UK Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre.  They will test drugs for rheumatoid arthritis that are being studied for other conditions such as cancer, in small numbers of patients.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects nearly half a million people in the UK. It is a chronic, disabling condition in which the body's immune system attacks the joints.  Although newer biologic treatments have made a huge difference to patients' lives, a proportion do not respond.

"We hope we can bring more treatment choices, in particular to test cancer drugs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have run out of options after trying all of the biologic drugs," explained Professor Isaacs, professor of clinical rheumatology at Institute of Cellular Medicine.

"At the other extreme, if we can find a treatment that 'switches off' arthritis, this could mean that patients with early disease only require a short-term treatment, after which they will not need to take drugs."

Being part of a trial

Professor Isaacs added that experimental medicine research could seem quite daunting to patients, as the treatments being tested were new and might not work, and the trials often involve a number of blood tests and other investigations.

"When patients become involved with research they generally benefit, regardless of the actual drug being tested. Because of this we feel it's very important for everyone to understand about research. Therefore we're also developing a programme of activities to provide better information to patients and their relatives, to help them to understand about research, and whether or not to become involved," he added.

Industry collaboration

The Newcastle researchers are working with pharmaceutical companies. "Often drug companies studying one disease can't afford to simultaneously test their drug in another condition such as arthritis, so we hope they will allow us to test their drugs for the, on our diseases," said Professor Isaacs. "If successful this will benefit the patient, the researchers, the company, the charity – and the economy – a win-win situation."

The new centre has already gained funding from the Medical Research Council to 're-purpose' a cancer drug called seliciclib being developed by Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, a University of Dundee spin-out company.

Seliciclib has been evaluated to date in approximately 380 cancer patients and is currently being tested in combination with another Cyclacel drug in cancer patients with solid tumours.

Researchers hope to show that the treatment is safe and potentially effective. Initially they will treat patients who have had the condition for at least a year and who are already taking treatment but not responding well enough. If this research is successful then they will test the treatment in patients taking different treatments, at different stages of their illness.

Medical director of Arthritis Research UK Professor Alan Silman said: "There's a real need to do in-depth testing of the benefits and safety of new drugs in small numbers of patients before large scale trials can begin, and our new experimental arthritis treatment centres are providing  the resources to study patients in these key first stage studies."

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Repurposing anti-cancer drugs for RA

Scientists at Newcastle University have been awarded £1m for a clinical trial to see whether a drug developed to treat cancer can be ‘repurposed’ to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

The drug works by targeting a different type of cell from conventional therapies and could therefore succeed where conventional treatments have failed.
“Repurposing of drugs is a potentially powerful way of bridging the gap between early stage research and development of a new treatment. Compared with traditional drug discovery approaches, this is a considerably cheaper and quicker route to the clinic because it 'leap-frogs' the early stages of drug development.  If our trial proves successful it could dramatically improve the treatment outcomes for RA patients."
Professor John Isaacs

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