Sutton Arthritis Research Laboratory

The Sutton Arthritis Research Laboratory focuses on solving health issues related to inflammatory arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. Our ultimate aim is to find a cure.

We also investigate other inflammatory forms of arthritis, including psoriatic arthritis, as well as inflammatory skin conditions.

Our research is both laboratory-based basic science and patient focused. This combination allows our research findings to be directly incorporated into clinical practice.

 Associate Professor Meilang Xue

Medicine, Northern Clinical School
Sutton Arthritis Research Laboratory

Honorary Professor Chris Jackson


Dr Haiyan Lin - Research Assistant

Zachary O’Hehir - Research Project Student

Frida Campos - Visiting Student

Activated protein C for chronic wound healing and the treatment of burns

  • Activated protein C is a promising wound healing agent demonstrated by a decade’s research led by Professor Chris Jackson, the director of the Sutton Arthritis Research Laboratory.
  • This project is investigating the effects of a mutant form of activated protein C and its ability to promoting wound healing.
  • The underlying mechanisms of this activated protein C will be tested using skin cells and mouse models.
  • These studies will promote the translation of activated protein C from the lab to clinical applications.

Activated protein C as a treatment for inflammatory arthritis

  • This project is exploring the therapeutical potential of activated protein C and its small peptides on inflammatory arthritis.
  • These peptides (a shortened form of the protein) can mimic activated protein C’s ability to protect cells without the anti-coagulant activity that occurs with activated protein C.
  • The effects of activated protein C and its small peptides will be explored using immune cells, blood vessel cells (endothelial cells), joint synovial cells (synovial fibroblasts), and cartilage (chondrocytes).

Predictive biomarkers for effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

  • Whilst biologic therapies have significantly improved prospects for rheumatoid arthritis patients, 40% of patients fail to respond fully.
  • Currently it is not possible to predict which patients will respond to which biologic therapy. In most cases, the choice of biologics is based on trial‐and‐error.
  • Additionally, a full response is not observed until patients have been provided continuous treatment for months. This means that if the first biologic chosen does not work, the patient may suffer extended periods of active disease.
  • In this project, the responses of rheumatoid arthritis patients’ own cells to biologic treatments (used alone or in combination with our new therapy) will be measured. These in vitro response patterns will be used to predict how well a biologic will work for each individual patient.

The function of protease activated receptor-1 and 2 in the onset and development of rheumatoid arthritis

  • There is a growing awareness of the role of microbiota (bacteria, fungi and/or viruses) in the onset, severity and progression of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as its impact on the therapeutic management of these patients.
  • Protease activated receptor (PAR) 1 and 2 are receptors located on human cells, strongly implicated in joint inflammation and destruction. Recently these receptors have been proposed to respond to microbial infection.
  • This project will investigate how these receptors affect the onset and development of rheumatoid arthritis using immune cells from rheumatoid arthritis patients and animal arthritis disease models. In addition, composition of the microbiome in rheumatoid arthritis patients and healthy individuals will be identified.
  • This data will lead to the development of new therapeutic interventions to prevent disease progression and improve the overall outlook of rheumatoid arthritis patients.
  • Beserra FP, Vieira AJ, Gushiken LFS, de Souza EO, Hussni MF, Hussni CA, Nóbrega RH, Martinez ERM, Jackson CJ, de Azevedo Maia GL, Rozza AL, Pellizzon CH. Oxid Lupeol, a Dietary Triterpene, Enhances Wound Healing in Streptozotocin-Induced Hyperglycemic Rats with Modulatory Effects on Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Angiogenesis. Med Cell Longev. 2019 May 9;2019:3182627. doi: 10.1155/2019/3182627. eCollection 2019.
  • Xue M, Zhao R, Lin H, Jackson CJ. Biological molecule delivery for the treatment of chronic cutaneous wounds and scars. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2018 Apr;129:219-241.
  • Peng Q, Luo A, Zhou Z, Xuan W, Qiu M, Wu Q, Xu L, Kong X, Zhang M, Tan W, Xue M, Wang F. Interleukin 29 inhibits RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis via activation of JNK and STAT, and inhibition of NF-κB and NFATc1. Cytokine. 2018 Jul 9. pii: S1043-4666(18)30282-5.
  • Ruilong Zhao, Christopher John Jackson, and Meilang Xue, Extracellular Matrix and Other Factors that Impact on Cutaneous. Recent Clinical Techniques, Results, and Research in Wounds book series, page 1-44. Springer.
  • Hai Po Helena Liang, Joshua Xu, Meilang Xue and Christopher J Jackson Matrix metalloproteinases in bone development and pathology: current knowledge and potential clinical utility. Metalloproteinases In Medicine (Dovepress): 2016:3:93-102.

Sutton Arthritis Research Laboratory related information

Sutton Arthritis Research Laboratory recent event

The National Committee of the Ulysses Club visited Kolling Institute, Sutton Arthritis Research Laboratories. The Ulysses Club Arthritis Research Fund has sponsored 2 PhD students (2008-2011) and 3 Postdoc (2012-present) in Sutton Lab as well as providing fund for equipment. Currently, Dr Haiyan Lin is sponsored by the club.

Events, News and Seminars

Australian researchers help astronauts tackle the health challenges of spaceflight

Australian researchers help astronauts tackle the health challenges of spaceflight

As the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) progresses its ambitious Artemis spacefl..... Read more

Category: Research Excellence, World-leading technology

269 million people to experience neck pain by 2050

269 million people to experience neck pain by 2050

New research led by investigators from the Kolling Institute has identified a concerning global tren..... Read more

Category: Musculoskeletal Research, Neuroscience and Pain Research, Research Excellence

Research helping the community tap into the best osteoarthritis care

Research helping the community tap into the best osteoarthritis care

While a large share of the community experiences osteoarthritis, many people are not receiving the l..... Read more

Category: Funding support, Musculoskeletal Research, Research Excellence