More Information About the VCRC...
The Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC) is an integrated group of academic medical centers, patient support organizations, and clinical research resources dedicated to conducting clinical research in different forms of vasculitis and improving the care of patients with vasculitis. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the VCRC is part of the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network. The operations of the VCRC are directed from Boston University and the four Primary VCRC Study Sites include Boston University School of Medicine, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Mayo Clinic.
The VCRC will establish a large longitudinal cohort of patients with the six VCRC diseases: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's) (GPA), Microscopic Polyangiitis, Churg Strauss Vasculitis, Polyarteritis Nodosa, Takayasu’s Arteritis, and Giant Cell Arteritis. Among the four primary VCRC Centers, approximately 1,000 patients will be followed in the cohort. It is expected that other sites, both in the U.S. and internationally, will eventually be participating in the cohort studies as well. A comprehensive set of clinical radiographic and laboratory data will be collected on patients in the VCRC longitudinal studies as well as biological specimens. Utilizing the cohort data, we will conduct projects to discover new biomarkers for vasculitis disease activity and prognosis, develop and standardize outcome measures for the different types of vasculitis, and develop and standardize imaging techniques for the large vessel vasculitides. We will also conduct clinical trials of promising new therapeutic agents. Patients need not be enrolled in all studies to participate in VCRC activities.
Although each of the VCRC Centers are expert centers for the evaluation and management of patients with vasculitis, the goal of the VCRC is not to provide care, but to conduct research. However, it is anticipated that patients and physicians will wish to refer patients for the dual purpose of clinical evaluation and potential research participation, and the VCRC Investigators welcome such interaction.
VCRC Investigators are extremely excited about the potential for the VCRC to become the focal point of patient-oriented clinical investigation in vasculitis for many years. The generous support of the NIH has provided us with the resources necessary to create this ongoing clinical research infrastructure.
Goals of the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium:
- Enroll a large group of patients with vasculitis into an observational cohort study (where subjects are followed over time and clinical, laboratory and radiological data as well as blood samples specifically for research are collected at regular intervals).
- Conduct clinical trials of promising new drugs for the treatment of vasculitis.
- Establish a patient contact registry.
- Discover new laboratory markers of disease that will lead to better treatment and deeper scientific understanding of the causes of these diseases.
- Develop improved methods for studying vasculitis.
- Work with vasculitis patient support groups to help those patients who wish to be involved in research connect with those doctors conducting the research.
- Help other scientists do more research on vasculitis by providing specimens and clinical data from the VCRC for analysis.
- Train new young investigators in the field of vasculitis.
- Construct and maintain an electronic website resource with significant information for clinicians, researchers, and patients.