Professor Fernando Pimentel-Santos and the Principal Investigator Helena Soares from Immunobiology and Pathogenesis Lab won the second place of the JAKIE Award attributed by the Portuguese Society of Rheumatology with the project “Bridging Adaptive and Innate Immunity through JAK Signalling”.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease, is marked by pain, stiffness, deformity and impaired functionality of the joints. This disorder is characterised by the accumulation of inflammatory cells, such as T and B cells, neutrophils and monocytes in the synovial membrane, leading to tissue and bone destruction. Rheumatoid arthritis affects 0.3-1% of the adult population worldwide and has a higher incidence in women, according with the World Health Organization.
The production of inflammatory cytokines by T cells is regulated by two switches: one the T cell receptor that acts like the on/off button; the other switch is represented by cytokine receptors family, which control the intensity of the inflammatory response.
With this project the research group of Helena Soares, in close collaboration with a team of rheumatologist at Hospital Egas Moniz led by Professor Pimentel-Santos, want to determine how these signalling circuits are rewired in patients with this disease and how they make the arthritogenic T cell more aware and reactive to changes in the tissue microenvironment. The identification of signalling checkpoints specific to arthritogenic T cells will allow directing novel therapies devoid of the immune-compromising effects of current rheumatoid arthritis treatments.
The JAKIE Award will help to support this project that will eventually lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
The award ceremony took place at the XIX Meeting of the Portuguese Society of Rheumatology and was sponsored by Pfizer.