Combining biomedical data of osteoarthritis patients, to develop guidelines for diagnosis and personalized treatment

The APPROACH project was established in 2015 to support the selection of patients for new disease modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) clinical trials. The consortium brings together a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders that will set up a database of different osteoarthritis patients and a bioinformatics platform. In addition, an on-going longitudinal cohort will be applied to validate and qualify methods for patient stratification.

icon_Money €15 M

funding from IMI, EFPIA

icon_Hands 25

partners throughout Europe

About the APPROACH project

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease that leads to pain and joint deformities. The disease has many different manifestations, and treatment targeted more specifically at different disease phenotypes might lead to improved outcomes. The IMI-funded APPROACH* project aims to develop a set of guidelines that allow for the selection of patients to support clinical trials, with medication that is specifically designed for subsets of OA patients. To this end, the consortium will set up a biomedical database of different OA patients, as well as a longitudinal cohort based on innovative stratification methods. For more information about the project, please visit the APPROACH website.
* APPROACH: Applied Public-Private Research enabling OsteoArthritis Clinical Headway

Providing independent program management

APPROACH engages with many different stakeholders throughout Europe. CTMM – now part of Lygature – was instrumental in setting up the consortium. In close collaboration with the UMC Utrecht, CTMM coordinated and supported the complete two-stage application process, followed by the contractual negotiations. From January 2016, a broad range of support is provided under the Lygature brand, including: 

  • Coordination and stakeholder interactions. Lygature is co-lead of the project management work package in APPROACH. Together with the project’s Executive Project Management Team, we coordinate and manage what is a multi-disciplinary program. Activities include monitoring effective execution of the work plan and its progress, stimulating collaboration, and involving various stakeholders, including a Patient Council, in the project. 
  • Communication and dissemination. The development of the consortium’s communication strategy, including publication guidelines, newsletters, press releases, website, and visual identity is also part of Lygature’s APPROACH responsibilities. In addition, Lygature provides its specifically developed IT platform, which includes a publication approval system to safeguard scientific confidentiality and enable smooth dissemination of the consortium’s results. 
  • IT infrastructure for translational research. The IT platform of APPROACH will be based on the tools and expertise built up within the Lygature-coordinated Dutch national translational IT network, TraIT. Lygature’s responsibilities include creating technical upload procedures for the APPROACH database. In addition, Lygature manages the actual upload of data to this database from existing cohorts, and from the APPROACH cohort. Lygature is also accountable for managing services from the hosting partners, including Legal Agreements, ethical framework, and data security arrangements.

APPROACH is a pertinent example of Lygature’s mission to bring together a wide variety of public and private partners, who share clinical datasets to realize medical solutions for patients. Setting up the APPROACH project has required extensive expertise in science, data infrastructure, and program management. 

Lygature together with

Project updates

  • The APPROACH researchers: Interview series “Behind-the-scenes”, part 1

    In order to showcase the variety of work we do in APPROACH, the following news items are dedicated to several of our researchers. They share the work they do for the project, what excites and challenges them the most, especially at times of the present COVID-19 pandemic, and how they see the impact of our project for the wider field of Osteoarthritis research.

    Read all interviews here.

  • The first patient to finalise the APPROACH study

    The APPROACH clinical team is happy to announce that the first patients to finalise the APPROACH study has successfully completed their 2-year involvement in the research.
    In February the clinical team from our clinical site in Utrecht, The Netherlands, has initiated the M024 visits and has performed 22 of them so far. These visits are very important for the progress of our research, because they constitute the last visits according to the clinical protocol. Within them patients have been closely followed and examined for 2 years now.

    Read more.

  • APPROACH project members come together in Spain for a fourth annual meeting to discuss project progress and set the grounds for future work

    Nearly 50 project members from 17 partner organisation participated in the fourth annual meeting for APPROACH which took place on the 20th and 21st of November 2019 in A Coruna, Spain. The meeting included sessions on work package progress such as data acquisition and data analysis, biomarkers, data streams, storage and quality control and the next steps for action.

    Read more.