The Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC) is a founding member, in 2003, of the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN). The VCRC is the major clinical research infrastructure in North America dedicated to the study of vasculitis. The VCRC has grown to include 18 academic medical centers in the United States and Canada conducting investigator-initiated clinical and translational research. The VCRC also partners with 50 other centers worldwide for the conduct of clinical trials.
The VCRC conducts observational cohort studies, biomarker development, studies of genetics and genomics, clinical outcomes research, studies using an online patient registry, pilot clinical projects, and multicentered, randomized clinical trials. Core components of the VCRC include the VCRC Clinical Data Repository, the VCRC Biospecimen Repository, the RDCRN VCRC Patient Contact Registry, the VCRC-NIH Data and Safety Monitoring Board.
The VCRC currently has over 1,900 patients enrolled in clinical research projects in 6 types of vasculitis, and has established a large longitudinal cohort of patients with the six VCRC diseases: eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Churg Strauss syndrome), giant cell arteritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's), microscopic polyangiitis, polyarteritis nodosa, and Takayasu’s arteritis. The RDCRN VCRC Patient Contact Registry and electronic resources are important for patients worldwide.
Partnership with Patient Advocacy Groups has been a critical component of the success of the VCRC.
Training new investigators is a core mission of the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC) and of high-priority to the Vasculitis Foundation (VF), and the VCRC-VF Fellowship provides support for 2-years of mentored training focused on clinical care and research in vasculitis. The VCRC-VF Fellowship addresses the need to train more physicians in the care of patients with vasculitis and to develop a new generation of vasculitis clinical investigators.
The generous support of the NIH provides us with the resources necessary to create this ongoing clinical research infrastructure and the VCRC investigators are excited to be involved in this large collaborative effort.