NPF-Funded Research

Patient Characteristics and Comparison of Definitions of Difficult-To-Treat Psoriatic Arthritis in a Longitudinal Cohort

Matthew Anacleto-Dabarno, M.D., C.M.

Principal Investigator: Matthew Anacleto-Dabarno, M.D., C.M.
Institution: University Health Network

Grant Mechanism: Psoriatic Disease Research Fellowship
Funding Amount: $50,000
Project Start Date: July 1, 2024
Project End Date: June 30, 2025
Status: Active
Keywords: Psoriatic Arthritis Comorbidity, Comorbidity Disease Models

Project Summary:

Psoriatic arthritis is a common disease that causes chronic joint pain and disability in patients with psoriasis. Despite significant improvements in care, some patients remain difficult to treat. Rheumatologists are trying to understand why some patients might not respond to treatment as expected. One of the first step in doing so is to define a group of patients as difficult-to-treat (D2T) to permit further studies. We aim to utilize our existing large database of psoriatic arthritis patients to understand what factors might contribute to developing D2T disease and how common this disease state is.

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

Many patients suffer from difficult-to-control psoriatic arthritis, termed difficult-to-treat (D2T). Studies on D2T have been limited by disagreements on it, in part due to a limited understanding of patient characteristics and risk factors. We will address these gaps in knowledge and better characterize D2T PsA patients. This will help clinicians better treat D2T PsA patients. The project is thus aligned with the NPF’s mission to improve the lives of those affected by psoriatic disease.

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

Psoriatic disease has been a passion of mine since joining my rheumatology training program two years ago. The heterogeneity and clinical challenge of psoriatic disease is enriching and gratifying. Psoriatic disease represents a “back-to basics” form of medicine, where care is guided mostly by patient experience, and clinical skills as opposed to overreliance on laboratory or imaging tests. Despite the high burden on the community, there remain countless limitations to our understanding of psoriatic disease. At the completion of my training, I will be pursuing an academic career at McGill University with a focus on psoriatic disease. I am grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the enrichment of psoriatic care through my research and to be able to deliver exceptional care through my clinical practice.

Researcher Profile:

My academic training and research experience have provided me with valuable research skills including training in the domains of statistics, computer programming, biochemistry, human biology, physiology, anatomy, and many more. During my medical school training, I became involved with the laboratory of Dr. Jack Antel, an internationally recognized multiple sclerosis researcher, and was until recently the head of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I had the opportunity to develop a novel algorithm that helped replace an outdated manual analysis (i.e. done by humans) which was imprecise and inefficient, but which had been the standard practice for years. Our new methodology would advance the speed and accuracy of drug development in the field of MS. Later, members of the lab augmented the algorithm using artificial intelligence. Amongst the projects I participated in early in my career, I would identify this one as being the most inspiring and motivating. My other projects researching examination methodology in medical education were also stimulating and gave me the opportunity to lead projects and present them at an international conference on medical education. Moving into my residency I had another opportunity to present a complex case at the Canadian Rheumatology Association national meeting and contributed to complex data collection and analysis from large patient databases. This array of publications and presentations demonstrates the diversity of skills that I have developed through participation in research projects. The current proposed research will serve as a foundational research project for my clinical fellowship at the University of Toronto. Though the fellowship is primarily clinical, I will be participating in and leading projects in the field of Psoriatic Arthritis as well. This will provide me with the skills and experience to continue conducting research when I return to Montreal to pursue a career as an academic Rheumatologist. My long-term goal is to continue researching difficult-to-treat psoriatic arthritis as an adjunct to my clinical practice.

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