In 2018, Michele Fresneda Alarcon received funding to research new ways to tackle chronic pain in arthritis patients at the University of Liverpool Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease.
This research will look for a way to switch off the harmful pain experienced by people living with rheumatoid arthritis, by reprogramming cells in the body that cause inflammation.
Michelle will attempt to re-programme a type of white blood cell, called neutrophils, which are involved in the body’s natural healing processes. Previous research has shown that neutrophils can behave differently in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The cells can activate several chemical processes that contribute to the inflammation and subsequent joint damage.
How will this research make a difference?
The team are keen to develop a greater understanding of these chemical processes, in order to identify a new way to switch off or better regulate the harmful inflammation seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This study may allow the researchers to identify new treatments that reduce joint damage and improve mobility.