WP7 Effects and efficacy of B-cell targeting in B-IMD/ B-ONC
Work package 7 is all about B cell-targeting therapies in B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases and malignancies. Although B cell-targeting therapies are widely used in these diseases, it is unclear why some patients respond well to therapy, and others do not. In this work package, we will identify biomarkers that can be used to monitor and predict treatment outcome. For these studies, we will include blood samples from suitable patients cohorts identified in WP1, and analyze these samples using the techniques optimized and harmonized in WP2 and WP5.
We will study patient blood samples obtained shortly before onset, during and after treatment. The immunological markers measured in blood will be correlated with clinical signs of disease to identify those markers that correlate with the outcome of disease and can be used as a biomarker to predict which therapy is best for a patient. We are currently setting-up the first analyses of samples from systemic sclerosis and granulomatosis with polyangiitis patients. We will use state of the art techniques to investigate what the immune cells in the blood look like, how active they are and whether this changes during treatment.
Importantly, the biomarkers that we find can also be used to identify patients with other non-autoimmune or malignant diseases that may benefit from B cell targeting therapies. To explore this possibility, we will also study the new biomarkers in patients with e.g. pulmonary fibrosis, which is not an autoimmune disease, but often features immune cell activation. The biomarkers identified in this work package that can predict treatment outcome will help to develop ‘personalized medicine’, which is an important step towards better treatment for individual patients.