Full project description ESR 1

ESR 1: Initiate a pilot prevention trial in individuals at high risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis

PhD research


Dr Ronald van Vollenhoven

PI | Professor and Chair | MD PhD

Amsterdam Rheumatology and immunology Center (ARC)

Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology

Location AMC | D3-220 | Meibergdreef 9 1105 AZ Amsterdam

T: +31205668998  |  E: r.vanvollenhoven@amsterdamumc.nl


Duration: 48 months


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory disease of unknown etiology. In the majority of affected individuals the disease is chronic with a life-long need for treatment. Individuals at high risk (>80%) of developing RA in the following 2 years can now be identified using a combination of clinical and laboratory-based variables. Therefore, it is of great interest to determine if an immunomodulatory treatment can prevent the disease. To demonstrate this, a randomized clinical trial is needed.


High-risk individuals are encountered in rheumatology practice and may also be actively recruited through existing patients (family history being a risk factor). The ESR will work on the design of a clinical trial for such individuals, including developing the structure of the trial, seeking input from all stakeholders (such as at-risk individuals and patients), formatting according to standard protocols, obtaining the necessary approvals, and developing a recruitment plan. The ESR will actively recruit participants to the trial, obtain informed consent, and liaise with the clinical team to ensure that the study procedures are followed. Participants will also be asked to consent to collecting biomaterials, including synovial and lymph node tissues when applicable.  

Our research team

Working together within the Amsterdam Rheumatology and immunology Center (ARC) and being embedded in the Amsterdam Infection & Immunity Institute (AI&II) gives us excellent opportunities to work closely together with both rheumatologists as well as immunologists on clinical and translational research projects. Collaboration with the large group of rheumatologists within the ARC as well as with the funding and patient advocacy organization ReumaNederland provides access to at-risk individuals. For our research program lymph node biopsy procedures are performed in close collaboration with the department of Radiology while synovial tissue biopsies are routinely collected within our department. We are involved in several national and international research projects, allowing excellent possibilities for collaborations with other research groups in academia as well as industry.