Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic immune-mediated disease affecting approximately 5 million EU citizens, with enormous impact on their quality of life and on social and health systems; just think that approximately 1 out of 3 patients will drop off work five years after diagnosis, if not properly treated.
Many disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are currently available to treat people with RA; however, many will fail or cause side effects until the best therapy for that individual patients is identified. Why can’t rheumatologists choose the best treatment right away? Unfortunately, available markers are insufficient to guide the decision (true precision medicine), and so, for a third of patients with RA, treatment strategies are still ineffective, cumbersome, and expensive.
Our team of leading academic centres with a first-class record in translational and clinical research, together with patient research partners and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has set out to deliver a collaborative programme to advance the clinical application of biomarkers to improve benefit, safety, and value of approved DMARDs. SQUEEZE utilizes models from data science, clinical trials, translational, and behavioural science to define the best use of biomarkers and medicines. SQUEEZE results will improve rheumatologists’ ability to select the DMARD with the highest likelihood to fit the patient’s immune and clinical profile, optimise the dose and route of existing DMARDs, and help design an innovative model of care focusing on the patient´s preferences and needs to increase adherence to prescribed medications and satisfaction with treatment.