March 8th 2018 Tallaght Hospital have announced that it will take the lead alongside Trinity College Dublin on the first national research study for patients with anti-neutrophil cytoplasm (ANCA) vasculitis. Vasculitis is an autoimmune kidney disease that causes destruction of small blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood flow, with consequent organ and tissue damage. It is estimated that there are 1,000 people in Ireland with ANCA vasculitis.
The research study is being conducted by the Trinity Health Kidney Centre (THKC), an academic health science centre comprising the clinical nephrology units in St James’s and Tallaght Hospitals and academic units in Trinity College Dublin (www.thkc.ie). This includes the Department of Nephrology, the Science Foundation Ireland ADAPT Research Centre (https://www.adaptcentre.ie) - which develops next generation digital technologies that allow for new ways to analyse, personalise and deliver data - and TCD’s Discipline of Statistics, which will lead on using statistical inference and decision theory to uncover patterns in the study data. THKC is recognised as a clinical centre of expertise in vasculitis and is linked to the European Reference Network for rare immune disorders.
Vasculitis patients are being encouraged to download a free personalised app, developed by patientMpower, which will help patients stay well, manage their medication and interact with clinical teams. The app will collate data for the research study, such as patients’ daily activity, location and blood results, to help identify and validate the environmental and clinical reasons for vasculitis flare.
The study, which will be led by Tallaght Hospital’s Professor of Nephrology Mark Little, will seek to develop artificial intelligence techniques that will assist physicians in predicting the risk of flare, thereby helping to get the dose of immune-suppressing drugs correct.
Speaking about the research, Professor Mark Little said; “ANCA vasculitis is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting approximately 1,000 patients in Ireland. Many of these patients lead full, productive lives but remain at risk of disease flare and of the consequences of long-term suppression of the immune system. The aim of this research is to link environmental to clinical factors, using the power of the app, to determine the climate, pollution or infection factors that trigger the disease.
As the second largest provider of dialysis in the country, Tallaght Hospital has the opportunity to use the outcome of this research to improve patient pathways for rare immune disorders like vasculitis. The work is being performed in conjunction with the Vasculitis Ireland Network, which also comprises vasculitis clinicians in St Vincent’s University hospital, Cork University hospital, University Hospital Galway and Daisy Hill hospital in Northern Ireland, alongside the national patient organisation, “Vasculitis Ireland Awareness”. We hope that as many patients as possible download and input into the app so that we can gain valuable insights into their chronic disease. We hope this information will in time help clinicians treat the condition and improve the management of vasculitis for patients.”
Vasculitis patients can download the personalised app for free which works on both apple (iOS) and Google android devices. The app can be downloaded here: onelink.to/p6pyja.
The announcement was made at the 50th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Nephrology Society, which brings together a faculty of distinguished experts to gain insights into the latest breakthroughs in scientific research into kidney disease, as well as updates on current clinical nephrology practice by both leading Irish and international scientists.
About Tallaght Hospital
Tallaght Hospital is one of Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospitals, providing child-health, adult, psychiatric and age-related healthcare on one site. The Hospital has 495 adult beds and 67 paediatric bed with 3,000 people on staff. The Hospital is a provider of local, regional and national specialities. It is also a national urology centre, the second largest provider of dialysis services in the country and a regional orthopaedic trauma centre.
Tallaght Hospital is one of the two main teaching hospitals of Trinity College Dublin - specialising in the training and professional development of staff in areas such as nursing, health and social care professionals, emergency medicine and surgery, amongst many others. Tallaght Hospital is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group and the Children's Hospital Group which serves a population of over 1.2 million across seven counties.
A new satellite centre is to be built at Tallaght Hospital in 2020 as part of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital project as a key element of an integrated clinical network for paediatric services nationally.
The Hospital’s Emergency Departments catered for 50,286 Adult Attendances and 32,886 Paediatric Attendances in 2017. A further 291,483 patients were treated through the Hospital’s adult and paediatric outpatient clinics in 2017. The Hospital’s operations are supported by 200 general practitioners in surrounding communities.
About academic groups
The Trinity Health Kidney Centre includes the academic department of Nephrology in Trinity College Dublin and the clinical nephrology units in St James’s and Tallaght Hospitals (www.thkc.ie). It is internationally recognised as a leader in research into autoimmune disease.
The Discipline of Statistics consists of six academics, two postdoctoral researchers and 10 postgraduate research students (http://www.scss.tcd.ie/disciplines/statistics/). Its research is primarily concerned with developing and applying the principles of statistical inference and decision theory to a wide variety of areas of science, engineering and the biosciences.
The Science Foundation Ireland ADAPT Research Centre (https://www.adaptcentre.ie) focuses on developing next generation digital technologies that transform how people communicate by helping to analyse, personalise and deliver digital data more effectively for organisations and individuals.
About Vasculitis Ireland Awareness
VIA is a charity and support group set up for patients of all the Vasculitis diseases, their carers and interested Healthcare Professionals across the whole island of Ireland (http://vasculitis-ia.org/).