Arthritis Genomics Recruitment Initiative in Australasia (AGRIA)

The Collaborative

The Arthritis Genomics Recruitment Initiative in Australasia (AGRIA) arose from an Australian Rheumatology Association satellite meeting in South Australia in 2008. It was recognised that the existing data concerning Australasian patients with differing rheumatologic conditions were not adequate for genetic studies of the future. Rather than working on types of arthritis in which there are already large international efforts it was resolved to initially focus on three specific rheumatologic conditions in which there is either a research strength in Australasia and/or little researched from a genetics perspective; ankylosing spondylitis (AS), gout and giant cell arteritis (GCA). Together, these arthropathies affect 2-3% of the Australasian population, adversely influencing quality of life and life expectancy.

Purpose of this research study

This research project is aiming to find out more about the genetic causes of these diseases and what is happening in the body. 

It is known that AS, gout and GCA can ‘run’ in families and studies have shown that there is a strong inherited element.  Genes or DNA (or deoxyribonucleic acid) are passed down from your parents.  It is the DNA that determines physical features such as the colour of your hair and eyes. Differences in our genes help explain why we all look different.  Differences in genes also help explain why some people get some diseases and others don’t.  Finding those differences is a powerful way for researchers to understand more about what causes disease and exactly what happens in the body.  This knowledge is important for design of better ways for prevention and treatment. 

For this project, we will only be recruiting people from a European background.  This is because it is a genetic study.  People from different countries have a different genetic make-up and so by recruiting from the same ethnic background we can ensure the results we see are because of genetics and not because of population differences.  Your suitability to take part in the study will be determined by asking which country your grandparents were born in. 

This research project is concentrating on AS, gout and GCA.  A total of 6000 people will participate in this project – 2000 people with AS, 2000 people with gout and 2000 people with GCA.  We will also be comparing the DNA of people without inflammatory disease (an existing European group already recruited) to find out whether there are any similarities or differences.  These people will therefore act as a comparison or ‘control’ group.

This project has been established by the ‘Arthritis Genomics Recruitment Initiative in Australasia’ group and is funded in part by a grant from Arthritis Australia.  The Principal Investigators are Professor Matthew Brown, A/Professor Tony Merriman and Dr Maureen Rischmueller and are working in collaboration with investigators from sites in Queensland, New Zealand, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

For more details please contact Study coordinator, Linda Bradbury:

Tel: 07 3443 7078