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Headline: Arthritis patients to help develop new drugs and treatments.

Arthritis sufferers in the NE will be given the opportunity to help develop new drugs and treatments.

The Great North Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre – the GREAT NEAT Centre – will be based in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University.

New treatments will be tested at the Clinical Research Facility based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

And already volunteer patients from across the region have been quick to take part in experimental treatments.

The work is being funded in part by the medical research charity Arthritis Research UK.

The drugs being tested will be offered to patients with rheumatoid conditions.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint condition resulting in pain, disability, joint damage and reduced quality of life.

The Centre will be open to patients with related conditions such as scleroderma and Sjogrens syndrome.

"Management of these conditions has improved significantly with the advent of a new class of biologic drugs” said Professor John Isaacs.  “These drugs were pioneered and developed by Arthritis Research UK scientists."

Achieving and sustaining "remission" remains the goal of many researchers, and has been shown to be critically important in arresting joint damage.

As well as funding from Arthritis Research UK additional financial support is being offered from the National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Newcastle University.

"We aim to improve the outcome of rheumatoid arthritis patients by developing and testing novel treatments, especially those that have the potential to stop these diseases in their tracks; resulting in higher rates of disease remission," said Professor Isaacs.

"Our new experimental arthritis treatment centre will allow us to test these new treatments," he added.

Want to take part?  Contact:

Some Useful Links

Arthritis Research UK - information for patients
NHS Choices website - participating in trials
UKPSSR - Sjogren's Syndrome

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