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Systemic Autoimmune diseases




01. January 2022 - 31. December 2027


0,15 FTE


Katja Lakota


3.01 Medical sciences/ Microbiology and immunology

Research Organisation:







Our research program P3-0314 encompasses rheumatologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, gastroenterologists, biochemists, pharmacists, molecular/cell biologists, biostaticians/bioinformaticians, laboratory experts, economists and patients groups. Activities are predominantly geared towards optimization of therapy/drug repurposing, elucidation of disease mechanism for inflammatory rheumatic disease (IRD), novel therapeutic targets and utilization of autoantibodies/biomarkers for earlier diagnostics/prognostics, disease activity and organ involvement. We will introduce comprehensive treatment for patients with IRD, with the aim of achieving lifestyle improvement and developing an effective, financially sustainable model. We will gain detailed insight into pharmacokinetics of biologics in a real clinical setting, helping physicians make better treatment decisions, with a personalized/cost-effective approach. Using precision medicine, we will deepen our understanding of fibrotic mechanisms targeting metabolism, that could lead to new/better therapeutic strategies in systemic sclerosis. Research on anti-SAA1 antibodies could contribute to an innovative approach in treating hyperinflammation that can occur in COVID-19, as well as other diseases (e.g. macrophage activation syndrome, catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome, septic shock). Systemic vasculitis usually presents as an emergency in rheumatology due to multi-organ involvement/risk of vital organ failure. We will integrate extensive data from multidimensional technologies with high resolution e.g. single-cell RNA sequencing, high-dimensional flow cytometry, ATAC sequencing, epiMethylTag analysis, curated molecular/cellular/clinical data, to build knowledge-based prediction models using machine learning algoritms/artificial inteligence. This will enable identification of most vulnerable patients at earlier time points. We will collaborate in developing (with Institute Jozef Stefan and University of Ljubljana-Faculty of Electrical Engineering) a biomimetic approach to higher quality materials/applications for patient implants. From an economic point of view, we will explore the dilemma of including the cost of productivity losses in the economic evaluation of health technologies for patients with IRD. With the improvements of biorx.si (a tool for capturing high quality data in clinical practice) we will obtain more complete, higher-quality, richer data, without a major burden to rheumatologists. The new, original biorx.si design will allow faster adaptations to new challenges. Our program, P3-0314 (2022-2027) will strive for lowering the substantial personal, social and healthcare burdens of systemic autoimmune diseases, including IRD, while providing the highest possible quality of care and standards to our patients.

Bibliographical references, arising directly from the implementation of the project: