about us

The TARGET Consortium

About Us

TARGET  – Treatment According to Response in Giant cEll arTeritis

TARGET Consortium Aim

Our overarching aim is to establish a unique, multi-speciality partnership between clinicians, scientists, industry and patients with a common purpose of reducing glucocorticoid (steroid) toxicity and improving outcomes for patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA).

We have actively engaged patient groups, Health Service funders (including Specialist Commissioning (NHS England) and industry partners in the areas of diagnostics, informatics and therapeutics to ensure multi-stakeholder engagement and a clear route to translation from the outset. Furthermore, multiple academic and industry partners will contribute established biobanks and clinical datasets so that the full potential for GCA research can be fulfilled. Our goal is to work closely with International colleagues to leverage the maximum impact for GCA research worldwide.

Our Objectives

Our aim of reducing glucocorticoid toxicity will ultimately be achieved through the development of improved tools for clinical evaluation (including diagnostic, monitoring and stratification biomarkers) allowing:

1. More accurate diagnosis.

2. Rapid glucocorticoid reduction for those in true disease remission.

3. Increased access to glucocorticoid-sparing therapies for those with ongoing disease activity or frequent relapses.

4. Identification of novel treatments through improved knowledge of disease pathogenesis.

Our objectives have therefore been prioritised to enhance our capability for identifying new diagnostics, therapeutics suitable for drug repurposing studies and designing efficient clinical trials. There is also a need for a greater understanding of the prevalence of glucocorticoid toxicity and the health care costs associated with the disease and treatment to support licensing and national commissioning and reimbursement decisions in order to accelerate translation of these molecular discoveries and clinical trials into routine clinical practice.

Build a national GCA community that supports world-leading research and clinical trials, and positions us as global leaders for GCA research with industry.

Capitalise on MRC investment in the Leeds MRC Medical Bioinformatics Centre to exploit primary and secondary care e-health records, existing research datasets and biobanks from  academia and industry to answer focused questions that will address evidence gaps in disease epidemiology, including long-term outcomes and glucocorticoid toxicity. We will also explore atypical presentations, which cause diagnostic delay.

Validate and identify novel biomarkers (soluble, molecular or imaging) that will facilitate early diagnosis, determination of early glucocorticoid responsiveness, and ultimately, molecular stratification.

Evaluate selected immune and stromal cell pathways (genetics, genomics, circulating and tissue cellular subsets) in different clinical strata. The priority will be on pathways where there are opportunities for drug repurposing or where there are drugs currently in development.

Develop robust, objective tools for clinical phenotyping of the different organ systems, initially focusing on ocular and large-vessel involvement.

Develop a disease-specific patient reported outcome measure for use in clinical trials.

Communicate our Consortium internationally to attract leading researchers and industry investment to ensure the partnership becomes financially self-sustaining.

Develop expert training packages for clinical assessment, imaging and histological assessment of GCA. The partnership provides an ideal opportunity to capitalise on multi-disciplinary expertise to deliver clinically-relevant training.

The TARGET Partnership

The Target Partnership began formally in September 2017 following the award of a Partnership Grant from the Medical Research Council. The Primary Investigator of this award is Professor Ann Morgan, and there are further co-applicants and partners from academia, the NHS and industry. You can read more about the TARGET Partnership Members here.


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