Adapt and Trinity consortium awarded €2.3m to study rare condition

5 Mar 2020

Image: Adapt

Adapt, Trinity College Dublin, Trinity Translational Medicine Institute and Tallaght University Hospital have been awarded funding to work with other European institutes to study a condition known as vasculitis.

SFI’s Adapt Centre for Digital Content Technology is part of a consortium that has been awarded €2.3m to use advanced data linkage technologies to study a rare condition known as vasculitis.

Other Irish organisations in the consortium include Trinity College Dublin, Trinity Translational Medicine Institute and Tallaght University Hospital. The consortium also includes hospitals and universities in Italy, France, Sweden, Germany, Scotland, Netherlands and Czech Republic.

Together, the consortium is working on a project called Fairvasc, which plans to gather large quantities of data in order to shed some light on possible treatments or cures for vasculitis.

As there are so few patients experiencing this condition in any one European country, the consortium said it will be essential to combine the databases of patient registries in several countries to ensure that a sufficient dataset is available for research to take place.

The Fairvasc project

Vasculitis is a condition that causes the blood vessels to become inflamed. It can happen when the immune system mistakenly attacks the blood vessel, or due to an infection, as a side effect from medicine or due to another disease.

The European Vasculitis Society and the European Network on Rare Primary Immunodeficiency, Autoinflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases (also known as Rita) will support the consortium as it contributes to the Fairvasc research project.

The consortium has received the funding from the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases. The goal is to create a single European dataset using semantic web technologies to link vasculitis registries around the continent.

Two of the key principal investigators involved in Fairvasc are Declan O’Sullivan, professor in computer science at Trinity College Dublin, and Mark Little, professor of nephrology in Trinity College Dublin. Both are principal investigators at the Adapt research centre, and Little is also a consultant nephrologist at Tallaght University Hospital.

Adapt said the large new European resource will be analysed to identify features, such as clinical and physical characteristics, that predict how a patent’s illness could develop and what their major health risks are.

These markers could potentially be developed into predictive tools that help doctors select the best treatment options for each individual patient.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic