Myositis research program

Research program head:       Professor Merrilee Needham

Research laboratory leaderDr Jerome Coudert

The inflammatory myopathies are a group of conditions that involve chronic muscle inflammation (myositis). The cause is unknown and while understood to be immune-mediated conditions, the underlying pathological mechanisms of myositis are unclear.

The estimated prevalence of myositis in Australia is of the order of 50 cases per million. Myositis is classified according to distinct clinical symptoms, tissue pathology and biomarkers but there are common properties between the classifications, e.g. muscle weakness and inflammation. Diagnostic precision is important to ensure that clinical management and treatment is appropriate and that patients receive the right education and support. New treatments available in clinical trials require that patients are carefully classified pre-trial to enable outcomes to be accurately assessed.

The Myositis research program has been established at IIID to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that trigger and control the progress of the pathological manifestations found in inflammatory myopathies. This research aims to improve clinical care through the development of new tools to diagnose the condition earlier and more accurately and of more effective treatments.

Our studies collate clinical information and take advantage of the latest research methods to study the self-damaging immune response in myositis. We biobank tissue samples donated from Professor Merrilee Needham’s patients at IIID’s clinic and undertake laboratory-based studies. Our approach to research also involves clinical trials in collaboration with other clinician specialists and exercise physiotherapists, in order to evaluate the efficacy of novel therapeutical drugs and methodologies for Myositis.

For collaboration inquiries and for students interested in joining our group, please contact Dr Jerome Coudert

For patients affected by myositis who are interested in taking part to our clinical studies or in donating tissues for our research, please contact Ms Deborah Robertson