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Home > News & events > News > Connect Immune Research partnership welcomes the Royal Free Charity
Connect Immune Research is a pioneering initiative, which unites organisations that conduct research on specific autoimmune conditions and enables them to collaborate on research projects. Autoimmune conditions involve the body’s immune system attacking its own cells instead of harmful invaders such as viruses and bacteria.
Part of the Royal Free Charity’s core work is supporting the researchers working in their hospitals and partner institutes. Their focus on early-stage research helps provide a solid foundation of knowledge that boosts the potential of other research into treatments and cures.
There is evidence that autoimmune conditions may share similar underlying biology, so Connect Immune Research is about joining forces to fund research that tackles many conditions at once.
Jon Spiers, Chief Executive of the Royal Free Charity, said: “This is a very important alliance for the health research community, and we’re delighted to add our perspective as an NHS charity with a huge research focus.
“Connect Immune Research (CIR) mirrors our commitment to collaboration: the Royal Free Charity works at the intersection of philanthropy, translational research and clinical service delivery within the NHS. Having co-funded the new Pears Building in Hampstead, home of the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, now the largest immunology institute in Europe, we look forward to working with CIR members to contribute to immunology research excellence in the UK so that together we can go further, faster, for all patients.”
The diverse range of research fields that the Royal Free Charity supports makes them a huge asset to Connect Immune Research. The UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation will be especially pivotal as a key research goal of theirs is to better understand the biology of immune regulation. This foundation of knowledge will help all partners to develop therapies addressing the abnormal immune system activity that occurs in each autoimmune condition.
Dr Doug Brown, CEO of the British Society of Immunology, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Royal Free Charity to Connect Immune Research, and I know that they’ll make a valuable contribution to the work of this important initiative. The work that the Royal Free Charity does to support hospitals, NHS staff, and patients is incredibly valuable. Their involvement will help us to realise our vision of advancing treatments for people living with autoimmune conditions.”
The research, which was co-funded by JDRF, reveals that drugs that target the immune system offer very effective and rapid improvements in stabilising blood sugar levels, often within just three months.
The new JDRF-funded clinical trial called SOPHIST will test a drug to help people with type 1 diabetes and heart failure.
Results from a clinical trial called the PROTECT study show that teplizumab can preserve beta cell function in children and adolescents newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
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