In her December 2021 letter, NIAMS Director Dr. Lindsey Criswell discussed the launch of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases (AMP® AIM) program. This new initiative builds upon the progress of the prior AMP RA/SLE project, which greatly advanced our understanding of the mechanisms that drive disease in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus.
AMP AIM extends beyond RA and lupus to psoriatic disease (psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis) and Sjögren’s disease. Studying a suite of disorders will enable AMP AIM investigators to conduct cross-disease comparisons that may help us pinpoint those cells and pathways that are specific to each of these diseases and those that are shared. Furthermore, while the prior project analyzed single cells isolated from patients (“disease deconstruction”), AMP AIM will expand the analysis to the interaction between these cells in the sites of disease (“disease reconstruction”). This collaborative effort will enable the development of new and effective therapies for people with autoimmune diseases.
Following a competitive process, the NIH has awarded grants to nine research groups across the United States to establish the AMP AIM network. These groups will piece together the key cell populations and pathways identified by researchers funded by our prior AMP investment to reveal how innate and adaptive cells of the immune system and tissue resident cells interact to cause inflammation and disease. A list of awardees can be found on our AMP AIM web page.
The AMP AIM Research Network includes distinct (but highly interactive) research components that have complementary roles. As the needs of the network and the data evolve, new exploratory projects may be brought in as well. In addition, the program aims to develop a Knowledge Portal that will facilitate rapid and efficient data sharing by the research community.
In closing, I must acknowledge our NIH partners (NIAID, NIDCR, ORWH), the AMP AIM Working Group, the Foundation for the NIH, and the thirteen public and private partners that support the AMP AIM initiative. We share a deep commitment to champion the most innovative and promising science to ultimately improve the health and quality of life of people with autoimmune diseases.
Robert H. Carter, M.D.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health