BRU researcher Dr Sarah Skeoch awarded NIHR Clinical Lecutreship

Dr Sarah Skeoch has been awarded prestigious National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Lectureships, to support her Biomedical Research Unit Small Grant funded research.

NIHR Clinical Lectureships provide doctors with the opportunity to pursue research and help facilitate funding applications for further research for those working towards completion of speciality training.

Sarah’s lectureship will support her research into measuring vascular inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and the development of a novel method of measuring vascular inflammation in early arterial disease, using contrast enhanced MRI.

There is a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease in those with rheumatoid arthritis and chronic inflammation is thought to drive this increased risk. Currently there is no reliable way to evaluate this risk, particularly in early disease. It is thought that successful early suppression of inflammation will lead to a reduction of cardiovascular risk but this is yet to be proven.

The initial aim of Sarah’s research is to evidence whether the measurement of the carotid artery wall enhancement through MRI is a feasible method to measure inflammation in arteries in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Sarah then aims to utilise these MRI scans to evaluate differences in the arteries of people with and without arthritis and to assess whether the treatments we use to treat arthritis have beneficial effects on the arteries. In the future it is hoped that this research will improve our understanding of why patients with rheumatoid arthritis have increased risk of cardiovascular disease and to evaluate strategies to reduce this risk.

Sarah’s long term aim is to obtain an intermediate fellowship to further her research with the goal of  being able identify those at high cardiovascular risk and provide personalised treatment, depending on their needs.