Connect Immune Research

A new scientific challenge. A new opportunity for charities to increase impact.

Connect Immune Research logo

We and our partners are presenting the scientific community with an unanswered challenge. Can they collaborate across disease-specific silos to tackle many conditions at once?

Their response could transform lives, and transform them much faster than small groups of specialists working in parallel could possibly achieve.

The type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, MS Society, and Versus Arthritis – as well as the supporting partner the British Society for Immunology – want to know how immune disorders are linked. To be more specific, ‘what are the common mechanisms of autoimmunity and immune mediated inflammation?’

We want to build momentum among funders and scientists to find the answer by working together in a way that rarely happens across different immune disorders today.

We are calling our project Connect Immune Research.

Why are we doing this?

As the type 1 diabetes charity, JDRF wants the answer for one reason: so that we can prevent type 1 diabetes from happening and find the cure, faster, for the 400,000 UK people living with it.

But the answer could also allow our partners to prevent and cure a whole range of other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, which together affect approximately four million Britons.

Connect Immune Research partners
(Left to right) JDRF’s Director of Research Partnerships Rachel Connor, MS Society’s Senior Research Manager David Coutts and Versus Arthritis’ Head of Research Awards and Translation Caroline Aylott

Broadening the focus. Building a coalition.

There are a large number of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions known to science. They include type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, colitis, MS, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

We know there are similarities in the genetic risk factors for many of these conditions. We know that many people live with more than one of them – for example thirty three per cent of people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have at least one other autoimmune disorder at diagnosis – they are much more likely to have Coeliac disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis than the general population.

So it is well established that the conditions are linked in some way. But for too long, investigating researchers have not been. They have had limited opportunities to collaborate.

By working with scientists with expertise in different conditions, we could discover that one treatment in a single condition is a skeleton key, unlocking impact far beyond the initial indication. This could also dramatically reduce costs and speed transformation of treatment for millions of people.

That’s why we’re building JDRF’s Connect Immune Research initiative.

We will start by funding a pilot collaborative award – we want scientists from different immune-related specialties to come together in a consortium to begin uncovering the common threads between their work. We want them to explore how to build progress in individual fields into faster progress across many fields.

What is the emerging Connect Immune Research coalition?

JDRF, Versus Arthritis and MS Society have committed to this pilot initiative along with the backing of the British Society of Immunology.

But as the initiative develops and begins to deliver some results, we anticipate including other partner organisations with an interest in research related to other autoimmune conditions.

Read the Connect Immune Research press release

Read our public announcement of this groundbreaking initiative.

Download the Are You #AutoimmuneAware? report

Are You Autoimmune Aware report

Are You #AutoimmuneAware? from Connect Immune Research reveals the increase in autoimmune conditions and highlights the need for greater recognition and investment for autoimmunity as a distinct research area.

For further information

Please contact [email protected]

JDRF Connect Immune Research

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