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Approved research

The morbidity burden of giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica

Principal Investigator: Dr Sarah Mackie
Approved Research ID: 5237
Approval date: February 27th 2015

Lay summary

This pilot study aims to describe the morbidity burden, and identify potential causes, of two age-associated autoimmune diseases: giant cell arteritis (GCA) and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). Some patients with PMR may have subclinical GCA. GCA and PMR are treated with glucocorticoids, which frequently have adverse effects, causing further morbidity. The biological measurements that have been done in UK Biobank could help identify novel methods for monitoring GCA and PMR. We would also like to access genetic data, when available, for GWAS studies to further investigate genetic causes of GCA/PMR. Identifying possible causes of these serious diseases may improve our understanding of pathogenesis, and thus help in developing new treatments, and preventative measures in those at risk (eg those with a family history). Characterising the morbidity burden in GCA/PMR will help to identify the health needs of this patient group in the UK, including determining the proportion of individuals with co-morbidities that may be exacerbated by glucocorticoids, suggesting a greater need for novel therapies. We will compare subjects with GCA, subjects with PMR, and subjects with both conditions, firstly with each other and secondly with all other subjects in UK Biobank. This cross-sectional approach will identify GCA/PMR associations although it will not establish causation. We wish to request data (no samples) on the full cohort. GCA(n=97)/PMR(n=998) cases were identified by self-report at baseline.