NPF-Funded Research

Transcriptome-Wide Study of Adalimumab Response in Psoriatic Arthritis

James Bluett, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator: James Bluett, Ph.D.
University of Manchester

Grant Mechanism: Discovery Grant
Funding Amount: $74,434
Project Start Date: August 1, 2024
Project End Date: July 31, 2025
Status: Active
Keywords: Psoriatic Arthritis, Biomarkers, Drug Therapy, Gene Expression

Project Summary:

Psoriatic arthritis, consisting of the skin disease psoriasis and arthritis, is a chronic disease affecting ~30% of people with psoriasis causing joint damage. Biologic drugs, such as adalimumab, target specific proteins of the immune system to treat psoriatic arthritis, but are expensive and do not work in everyone. Our DNA is unique and contains the code to create proteins; to do this our DNA is transcribed into RNA which can contain a number of changes affecting the proteins that are made. These changes may predict how we respond to medication. We would like to investigate changes in the RNA of patients who have responded and not responded to a biologic drug, adalimumab, to identify which changes predict in whom adalimumab will work.

How will your project help improve the lives of the 125 million affected by psoriatic disease?

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic, incurable disease causing inflammation of the joints. Psoriatic arthritis can be treated with medications that target the immune system, such as adalimumab. However, not everyone responds to the medicine and Doctors do not currently know in whom adalimumab will work.
The identification of RNA in the blood that could predict response to adalimumab would be of significant benefit to patients living with psoriatic arthritis. Being able to detect who is less likely to respond to the drug would allow Doctors to prescribe an alternative medicine which may have a higher chance of working.

Why is psoriatic disease research important to you, personally? What role will this award play in your research efforts or career development?

Psoriatic arthritis research is important to me because left untreated, it is a debilitating autoimmune disease that causes disability, reduced quality of life, and chronic pain. As a rheumatologist, I am committed to advancing our understanding of who will respond to psoriatic arthritis medicines, a crucial step towards personalizing medicine and improving patient outcomes.
The National Psoriasis Foundation Award will play an important role in my research efforts. The award provides the necessary resources to investigate potential transcriptomic response biomarkers to adalimumab. The award will enable me to continue my research to identify response biomarkers which may pave the way to personalized medicine approaches.

Researcher Profile:

Dr James Bluett (MBBS, MRes, MSc, PhD; Orchid ID: is a senior clinical lecturer and honorary consultant in rheumatology at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. In 2016 he completed his PhD investigating methotrexate adherence in rheumatoid arthritis and the genetics of methotrexate-pneumonitis. His research interests encompass a wide range of topics, including pharmacogenomics, treatment optimization and adherence.
In addition to his academic pursuits, James is actively involved in a number of working groups and leadership positions. He is a member of the British Psoriatic Arthritis ConsorTium (Brit-PACT) steering committee and holds leadership roles including the University of Manchester Integrated Clinical Academic Training Rheumatology Academic Programme Lead.
James’ research efforts have been supported by prestigious grants and collaboration with industry. He has secured substantial funding from organizations including the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

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