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 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 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.”