UK-PSC is a research group of leading PSC researchers and specialists working to better understand PSC.
UK-PSC was set up in 2009 as a UK PSC genetics study with PSC Support funding and PSC Support is part of the UK-PSC steering committee demonstrating a commitment to patient collaboration.
UK-PSC became part of the NIHR Rare Disease Research collaboration in April 2015 and expanded its scope to include PSC patients of all ages.
Professor Hirschfield in Birmingham leads UK-PSC and was excited about this new chapter in PSC research in the UK:
“PSC is a challenging disease but progress can be made if we work together and focus on careful study of our patients. Moreso by working together with other rare liver diseases such as primary biliary cirrhosis and autoimmune hepatitis, we can maximise our impact clinically and in research.”
Which hospitals are involved in UK-PSC?
There are now 221 centres or hospitals signed up to take PSC patients' blood or saliva samples already. Nearly 2,500 UK PSC patients are registered and our results have been combined with those collected internationally via the International PSC Study Group. In December 2014, we secured funding to build on the DNA work to create a UK-PSC Biobank. UK-PSC will conduct more detailed phenotyping and biobanking, so that we are not just taking one sample of cells, but we are also including urine, faeces and samples taken from colonoscopies and ERCPs.
What will the biobank information be used for?
The biobank information will help us to:
- improve our basic understanding of PSC
- establish better, shorter term end points for trials (than 'death' or 'transplantation')
- establish the different subtypes of PSC and their causes/mechanisms. It is hoped that in doing this we will be able to identify specific cohorts of patients ready for trials, so that the trials can be targeted at well-evaluated, specific groups rather than across the whole range of the PSC population:
Do younger PSC patients (under 25 years) have a more inflammatory type of PSC?
Those at higher risk of developing cancer. Is there genetic component in developing cancers with PSC?
Is there a subgroup of small duct PSC with a better prognosis? Is it a different disease or simply early stage 'classical PSC'?
Is PSC with IBD different to PSC without IBD?
How are patients with elevated IgG4 levels compared to those with classical PSC?
Frequently Asked Questions about UK-PSC
Read FAQs for patients
How do I join the UK-PSC Study?
UK-PSC is continuing to recruit patients of all ages nationally. This will allow us to do better research, answer some of our questions and allow patients in the UK to get very early access to new treatments. If you are a patient, and have not yet provided your sample, or you are not sure, please e-mail the UK-PSC Project Manager Bridget Bell (or call her on 0121 371 8101). Please also contact her if you have changed any of your contact details.