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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Systemic autoimmune diseases

Periods
Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.01.00  Medical sciences  Microbiology and immunology   

Code Science Field
B500  Biomedical sciences  Immunology, serology, transplantation 

Code Science Field
3.01  Medical and Health Sciences  Basic medicine 
Keywords
Systemic autoimmune diseases, autoantibodies, immunoserological assays, inflammation, acute phase proteins, atherosclerosis, vasculitis, thrombosis, rheumatoid arthritis, biologicals, epigenetics, nanotubes, systemic sclerosis, fibrosis, giant cell arteritis, patient registery
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (43)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  02537  PhD Rok Accetto  Cardiovascular system  Retired researcher  2015 - 2021  277 
2.  19209  PhD Aleš Ambrožič  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  218 
3.  39910  Anita Antonič Zakojč    Technical associate  2017 - 2021 
4.  54653  Matija Bajželj  Microbiology and immunology  Junior researcher  2020 - 2021  14 
5.  00781  PhD Borut Božič  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  600 
6.  52564  PhD Neža Brezovec  Microbiology and immunology  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  19 
7.  12153  PhD Jana Brguljan-Hitij  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2017 - 2021  325 
8.  51203  Blaž Burja  Medical sciences  Technical associate  2020 - 2021  45 
9.  16362  PhD Saša Čučnik  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  385 
10.  21361  PhD Nataša Gašperšič  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  76 
11.  22344  PhD Alojzija Hočevar  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  394 
12.  34803  Maša Huzjak    Technical associate  2015 
13.  39695  Rok Ješe  Microbiology and immunology  Technical associate  2017 - 2021  84 
14.  10693  PhD Jan Kobal  Neurobiology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  144 
15.  39911  Sergeja Košir Jošt    Technical associate  2017 - 2021 
16.  39765  Monika Krošel  Microbiology and immunology  Technical associate  2017 - 2021  22 
17.  39162  PhD Tadeja Kuret  Microbiology and immunology  Junior researcher  2016 - 2020  64 
18.  02066  PhD Tatjana Kveder  Microbiology and immunology  Retired researcher  2015 - 2021  275 
19.  28845  PhD Katja Lakota  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  233 
20.  02087  MSc Boris Lestan  Microbiology and immunology  Technical associate  2015 - 2018  69 
21.  10080  PhD Dušan Logar  Microbiology and immunology  Retired researcher  2015 - 2021  128 
22.  34804  Katjuša Mrak Poljšak    Technical associate  2015 - 2021  66 
23.  24207  Miroslava Oblak    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
24.  38271  PhD Manca Ogrič  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  42 
25.  39694  Jaka Ostrovršnik  Microbiology and immunology  Technical associate  2017 - 2021  33 
26.  34802  Milena Pavić Nikolić    Technical associate  2015 - 2019  39 
27.  29467  PhD Katja Perdan Pirkmajer  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  154 
28.  16184  PhD Martina Plešivčnik Novljan  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  51 
29.  13602  PhD Sonja Praprotnik  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  371 
30.  15441  PhD Uroš Rot  Neurobiology  Researcher  2021  180 
31.  30545  PhD Žiga Rotar  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  308 
32.  07180  PhD Blaž Rozman  Microbiology and immunology  Retired researcher  2015 - 2021  563 
33.  12541  PhD Barbara Salobir  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  256 
34.  26481  PhD Snežna Sodin Šemrl  Microbiology and immunology  Head  2015 - 2021  319 
35.  10645  MSc Alenka Šipek Dolničar  Microbiology and immunology  Technical associate  2015 - 2018  37 
36.  51881  Ula Štok  Microbiology and immunology  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  16 
37.  21943  Tinka Švec    Technical associate  2015 - 2021  19 
38.  06661  PhD Marjeta Terčelj Zorman  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  413 
39.  13601  PhD Matija Tomšič  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  764 
40.  11647  PhD Marjan Zaletel  Neurobiology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  716 
41.  24209  Valentina Zavrl    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
42.  24208  Marta Zorko  Microbiology and immunology  Technical associate  2015 - 2017 
43.  24206  PhD Polona Žigon  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  164 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  76,282 
Abstract
The research program P3-0314 includes 14 projects, 6 research-oriented and 8 clinical projects (Gantt chart enclosed). While P3-0314 is a continuation of the previous program (2009-2014), we plan introduce and develop new methodologies, innovative ideas and applications. We will use the in vitro model of the ANX A5 anticoagulant shield and atomic force microscopy to study the pathogenicity of autoantibodies isolated from patients with severe autoimmune diseases, such as catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome that could contribute to greater understanding of micro-thromboses. Furthermore, we plan to characterize the binding of antiprothrombin antibodies to its antigen using the phage library and giant phospholipid vesicles, as well as determine their effects in cellular models. Investigation of antiprothrombin antibodies IgA could benefit diagnostics of antiphospholipid syndrome and improve evaluation of risk for thrombosis and/or pregnancy complications. Examination of inflammatory-induced epigenetic changes is important, since the renewal of normal epigenetic patterns early in disease development can be an effective way of preventing aggresive forms of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, where joints are largely afflicted without therapy. Studies on implants are crucial to determine compatibility of the implanted material (TiO2) with surrounding molecules/tissues. Since inflammation can be linked to fibrosis development, we plan to investigate whether serum amyloid A could act as a marker of systemic sclerosis prognosis/organ involvement. Serum Amyloid A, an acute phase protein can cause chronic inflammation, if left unchecked. So, developing a novel method to detect multiple antibodies against acute phase proteins could screen for diagnosis/organ involvement/associated diseases. Monitoring serum levels of biological drugs and their antibodies is also our priority. Since genetic polymorphisms could influence drug efficiency we aim to evaluate polymorphisms affecting methotrexate in patients with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. Our clinical studies are geared towards rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis and ankylosing spondyloarthritis and their incidence/prevalence in Slovenia. We will evaluate whether ultrasound is a viable diagnostic tool for giant cell arteritis and will incorporate a more personalized/participatory approach into clinical practice. In summary, the P3-0314 program group includes clinicians and other research professionals in the area of systemic autoimmune diseases, autoantibodies and inflammatory parameters, who are internationally connected. Our results are publications in SCI-cited journals, development of novel methodologies, a patent, transfer of knowledge, as well as active, long-term and successful collaborations with national and international centers. The program is important for development of the medical sciences (rheumatology, immunology, internal medicine), technical advances, education of specialists in autoimmunity and for improvement of healthcare in Slovenia.
Significance for science
Autoimmunity, inflammation, atherosclerosis and vascular diseases represent a medical priority in developed countries. However, the cross-talk between the scientific areas is still understudied and remains  to a large extent unclear. The suggested program represents a continuation of research activities of the group, with a strong emphasis on the 4 Ps in Medicine (prevention, prediction, personalization and participatory medicine), incorporation of bioinformatics/databases, such as the Registry of patients on biological medications and developing and using state of the art systems, such as a) atomic force microscopy to study pathogenic properties of autoantibodies, b) epigenetics to determine environmental regulation of the celular inflammatory transcriptome, c) research on titanium dioxide nanotubes for potential implantable devices, d) phage library and giant lipid vesicles to study antigen-antibody binding, e) scratch cellular wound healing model and antibacterial assays to study the characteristics of the acute phase protein Serum Amyloid A locally. The following scientific milestones are planned for implementation into diagnostics/prognostics/disease progression: Determine whether SAA can be used as a marker of organ involvement in patients with systemic sclerosis. Multiple biomarker development: Acute phase proteins and their endogenous antibodies Innovative method for detection of Biologicals and anti-biological antibodies Determine whether Methotrexate therapy elevates AICAR in patients with systemic inflammatory disease and possible positive implications of metabolic pathways Collection and curation of epidemiological data for systemic vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondyloarthritis. Determine whether ultrasound of the temporal artery can be positioned into the diagnostic algorithm of suspected Giant Cell Arteritis.
Significance for the country
Autoimmune diseases include more than 80 chronic illnesses, with around 20 million afflicted patients in Europe with a rising prevalence. Patients are exposed to permanent pain, reduced productivity at work, loss of organ function and early mortality. For this reason, research in this area is one of current medical priorities. The research program P3-0314 is a part of the Department of Rheumatology, University Medical Center-Ljubljana with tight connections between the clinical, routine diagnostic and research/development environments. This kind of millieu continuously promotes exchange of information, knowledge for the benefit of innovations and current clinical needs. Optimized methods stemming from the program are directly translated to diagnostics/prognostics.  Program members are involved in many international clinical studies conducted with pharmaceutical industry. The research program P3-0314 is active in many international projects and educates/mentors numerous doctoral, master's and undergraduate candidates primarily from Faculties of Pharmacy and Medicine of the University of Ljubljana. P3-0314 was awarded twice in UMC-LJ, Prof. Rozman received the Zois Life achievement award and many projects within the program received quality awards. Members of the program organized and hosted the 7th Autoimmunity Congress with more than 1600 participants and a 3-day multicenter workshop on Serum amyloid A (2010). We plan to contuinue actively participating in the organization of workshops and meetings. The program is developing/introducing many new methods and optimizations important for diagnostics and prognostics (such as in house method for aPS/PT, routine quantification of  SAA, in-house isolation of beta2-GPI and anti-GPI antibodies, detection of HLAB27, one of the diagnostic markers of ankylosing spondyloarthritis, innovative detection of anti-dsDNA protiteles which yielded a patent). Our immunoserological tests are competitive, not only at the national, but also regional level. We developed an electronic registry of patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases (ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis), who take biologicals for safe monitoring, which we plan to use for further national and international studies.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2015, interim report
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