21 June 2021
A ground-breaking charity research partnership has attracted further support in confronting the UK’s high prevalence of autoimmune conditions.
The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance has joined the Connect Immune Research initiative, which includes the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, the MS Society, Versus Arthritis, Alopecia UK, and supporting partner the British Society for Immunology.
The organisations will work together to accelerate research into autoimmune conditions, which see the body’s immune system mistakenly attack healthy cells. These conditions affect an estimated four million people in the UK – equivalent to more than six per cent of the population – but are currently incurable.
Around 1.3 million people in the UK live with psoriasis, making it the most common autoimmune condition. In psoriasis, the immune system triggers skin cells to grow rapidly, causing red, raised patches on the skin. Around 400,000 of those with psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain and swelling in the joints and tendons.
The Connect Immune Research initiative brings together researchers from across autoimmune conditions to uncover the common threads in their work – meaning greater efficiency and hopefully new treatments, faster.
As well as accelerating research into new treatments for millions of people, the approach could also dramatically reduce costs. As a result, member charities believe this innovative approach could be key to helping the medical research sector adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
David Chandler, Chief Executive at the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance, said:
“We are very pleased to join and be part of this initiative. It is clear that there are common issues that affect many immune mediated diseases and working together with other like-minded organisation makes good sense, not only for the groups involved, but more importantly for the patients we support and represent.”
Rachel Connor, Director of Research Partnerships at the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, said:
“The UK is a world leader in immunology research, but for too long teams have been working separately, focusing on specific conditions rather than the connections between them. As more organisations join the Connect Immune Research initiative, bringing with them their experience and knowledge, we will come much closer to the research breakthroughs that will be transformational for people with autoimmune conditions.”
Notes to editors
About the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance
The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance (PAPAA) is an independently funded charity, which supports and advises people affected by psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Our vision is to see psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis managed in a positive way, more effectively, by putting people affected at the centre of care. We act ethically, with integrity on behalf of our constituent group and advocate and represent them fairly. We support researchers via a small grants scheme and provide healthcare professionals with resources to support their patients, along with access to an accredited professional training programme.
About Alopecia UK
Alopecia UK is the leading UK charity working to improve the lives of those affected by alopecia through aims of support, awareness and research. We collaborate and work with clinicians, researchers and industry to provide hope and confidence to people with alopecia by funding research into its causes, with the aim of finding treatments, and ultimately, a cure. We keep those with alopecia at the heart of everything we do to ensure that the voice of those with alopecia is always heard.
JDRF is the leading global organisation funding type 1 diabetes research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than £1.5 billion since our inception. We collaborate with the most talented minds to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with type 1 diabetes. Our staff and volunteers around the globe are dedicated to campaigning for our vision of a world without type 1 diabetes.
About the MS Society
Over 130,000 people live with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the UK. MS damages nerves in your body and makes it harder to do everyday things, like walk, talk, eat and think. It's relentless, painful, and disabling. It’s unpredictable and different for everyone.
The MS Society is here to make life better for people with MS, through research, campaigning, and support.
We have a free helpline – 0808 800 8000 – and information can be found on our website www.mssociety.org.uk.
We’re driving research into more – and better – treatments for everyone.
Together we’re strong enough to stop MS.
About Versus Arthritis
There are 18.8 million people living with a musculoskeletal (MSK) condition like arthritis in the UK. That’s one in four people, with half of those living in pain every single day. The impact is huge as the condition intrudes on everyday life – affecting the ability to work, care for a family, to move free from pain and live independently. Yet arthritis is often dismissed as an inevitable part of ageing or shrugged off as ‘just a bit of arthritis’. We don’t think this is ok. Versus Arthritis is here to change that.
Find out more at: www.versusarthritis.org.
About the British Society for Immunology
The British Society for Immunology is the leading UK membership organisation working with scientists and clinicians from academia and industry to forward immunology research and application around the world. Our friendly, inclusive community consists of more than 4,200 immunologists, giving us a powerful voice to advocate for immunological science and health for the benefit of society.