Tight control in psoriatic arthritis

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What is the objective of the project?

The objective is to establish the best treatment of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), improving the treatment for everyone who is diagnosed with this condition in future.

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis, associated with the skin disease called psoriasis, which causes joint pain and swelling and then joint damage and disability over time.

We think that in PsA, the situation is similar to that found in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), where inflammation of the joint and adjacent bone causes the damage and destruction.

In this study, people with newly diagnosed PsA will be followed for 1 year. Half will be treated using standard hospital care. The other half will be reviewed monthly in a specialist clinic ('tight control') and will be treated intensively aiming to further reduce the inflammation in their joints.

After 12 months, we will assess whether this 'tight control' treatment can improve clinical outcomes and reduce the damage to the joints and prevent long term disability. It is expected that joint damage will be reduced in those patients treated intensively, therefore preventing disability. The therapeutic trial will provide direct evidence to support the use of early and intensive treatment in PsA to ensure that people are treated optimally.

The trial is led by Dr Philip Helliwelll at the University of Leeds. Recruiting centres will be in the clinics in Leeds, Bradford and York but other centres in Newcastle, London and Bath are shortly to start recruitment as well. People with early PsA (less than 2 years) who have not yet received treatment will be eligible.


For further information contact Dr Helliwell's Leeds office number: 0113 392 3064.

About the author:

Philip Helliwell is currently Senior Lecturer in Rheumatology at the University of Leeds, in the UK, and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist for the Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust.

Previous appointments include: Member of NHS R&D Research Committee on Physical and Complex Disabilities, Member of the Executive Council, Centre for Biomechanics and Medical Engineering; Treasurer and Member of Executive Committee, Society for Back Pain Research; Member of Education Committee, Arthritis Research Campaign; and Editor for the ARC Patient Information Leaflets and Convener Publications Working Group. His main research interest is in clinical features and classification of psoriatic arthritis. He was a founding member of the GRAPPA group in 2003 and served on the Executive Committee until 2008. He was the PI of the CASPAR study and is now leading the GRAPPA composite measure exercise in preparation for OMERACT 2010.

Between 1997 and 2000, Dr Helliwell was a Member of the Heberden Committee, at the British Society for Rheumatology where he was involved in research, training and educational matters. He was also a Member of Council at the British Society for Rheumatology.

Dr Helliwell is also a referee for MRC, EPSRC, ARC and several European and North American Journals