How It Works

UCAN-A will be rolled out in Phases to ensure feasibility. The various Phases have been designed to leverage on existing resources, expertise and coalesce them synergistically.

In Phase 1, UCAN-A will focus on Paediatrics Rheumatology diseases plus Rheumatic fever which in many underserved countries in Asia remains a significant problem. The choice is at the same time strategic and pragmatic:

I     state of art facilities and leadership specific to paediatric rheumatic diseases already are present in the founding groups;

II    these diseases are dramatically under diagnosed, under treated and poorly understood throughout Asia. The possibility of networking throughout the continent will also provide the opportunity to achieve the critical mass necessary for translational and clinical research, including clinical trials.

The other opportunistic reason why we start with Paediatric Rheumatology and Rheumatic Fever, is because of the existing networks, one in Europe (UCAN-U) and the other in Canada (UCAN-A). A notable proof of our integer contribution to the field is a recent paper in Nature Rheumatology which we co-authored where these networks are explicitly mentioned.

We have already done an exploration on potential interests and found a great degree of enthusiasm among possible network participants. We aim at involving Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Australia, China and New Zealand. A consensus conference will be held on February 13th, 2017 and will involve key opinion leaders (KOL) coming from these countries, in addition to KOL from Europe and the US.

In Phase 2, we will extend the number and scope of the projects network wide. When possible, we will branch out to underserved areas where local physicians will be provided with the appropriate standard operating procedures (SOPs) and be flanked by a nurse who will be assisting in collection of clinical data and samples and also in the implementation of the standard of care.

This phase will be funded at the national level and we will be actively seeking large philanthropic donations. Of note, at this stage the network should already be self sustained so that we could attract significant funding not only from philanthropy and governments but also industry. So far the critical mass which we would be able to provide is unequalled worldwide considering the combination of sheer patient numbers of the various countries involved.