Autoimmune rheumatological diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, vasculitis and systemic lupus erythematosus continue to exert significant tolls on the quality of life of millions of afflicted patients and on European societies in the form of loss of (work-)productivity and costs. Major advances in our understanding of the immunological processes underlying these diseases have been made, but it has not always been possible to translate these to improved diagnostics or therapeutic health care interventions. At the AMC and collaborating institutions and partners, we have developed the translational platforms for true bench-to-bedside development of the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics for these diseases. To contribute to this effort, the next generation of scientists that work on translational immunological rheumatology need to be educated. Therefore, a multidisciplinary research team of scientists based at several faculties at Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands have received a Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND grant. In this programme, 20 PhD students will work at the Amsterdam UMC in the field of translational immunological rheumatology.
ARCAID will be a top-class research institute where ESRs will be skilled through excellent training programs setup along four trivial pillars in translational research:
I.Application of state-of-the-art technologies on human and murine biosamples;
II.Delineating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying pathophysiology of disease;
III.Development of improved computational procedures for data analysis and interpretation;
IV.Discovery of novel markers to improve diagnostics, prognostics and therapy response to aid the development of personalised medicine.
The first pillar consists of learning how to apply common (e.g. flowcytometry, quantitative PCR, cell culture, basic microscopy) and state-of-the-art technologies (e.g. single cell sequencing, metabolomics, CyTOF, advanced microscopy and PET-MRI imaging) on cells and tissues to solve important research questions. A special focus will be the acquisition, processing and use of human biosamples. The second pillar builds upon the first pillar, on how to interpret the obtained data to setup additional functional studies aimed at delineating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying pathophysiology of disease. The third pillar becomes increasingly important in this era of artificial intelligence and will involve excellent training in the application of machine-learning, bioinformatics and big data in the different translational research studies. Finally, the fourth pillar is devoted to translating our research findings of novel (imaging) markers and drug targets to clinical applications, aiming for more accurate diagnostics, personalised medicine, and more effective therapies, thereby contributing to improved health care for patients with autoimmune inflammatory diseases. Every ESR research project will consist of a blend of all four pillars but with the focus on one or two of the four pillars and supervised by highly experienced and renowned researchers in the field.