Connect Immune Research partnership

Autoimmune conditions occur when the body’s immune system begins attacking its own cells. Thyroid disease is one of the many autoimmune conditions which jointly affect up to four million people in the UK. Often, people have more than one autoimmune condition, fueling the idea that there are common underlying biological mechanisms across different autoimmune conditions.

The BTF is part of a group of organisations collaborating on research into the causes of autoimmune conditions. Connect Immune Research is a ground-breaking initiative launched in 2018 by JDRF, the MS Society, Versus Arthritis and the British Society for Immunology. It brings together organisations that research autoimmune conditions to understand how autoimmune disorders are linked.

This collaboration of scientists and expertise is designed to broaden the scope of research, leading to faster and more innovative outcomes in finding find the root causes of autoimmunity and developing treatments for people living with autoimmune conditions.

Julia Priestley, CEO (Development) of the BTF, said:

'We are delighted to be part of Connect Immune Research, which is such an important network of organisations with common interests. We look forward to working together and sharing resources to encourage much-needed research in this area.'

BTF trustee, Professor Marian Ludgate from the Thyroid Research Group at Cardiff University School of Medicine said:

'Autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, are the most commonly occurring autoimmune diseases. They affect millions of people of all ages in the UK. Unfortunately, even though the prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity is increasing, treatments for most patients haven’t changed in decades.'

The Connect Immune Research is made up of the following organisations:

· JDRF (the type 1 diabetes charity)

· The British Society for Immunology

· The MS Society

· Versus Arthritis

· Alopecia UK

· The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance

· Coeliac UK

· Bowel Research UK

· The British Thyroid Foundation

· Royal Free Charity

Rachel Connor, Director of Research Partnerships at JDRF, said:

'We know that there are many people who live with more than one autoimmune condition, and many more people who have family members who are affected by other autoimmune conditions. So, it makes sense to investigate what these conditions have in common. The more autoimmune conditions we have represented in the Connect Immune Research partnership, the more we can ensure this research fits the needs of everyone affected by autoimmunity.'

About Connect Immune Research