New research will look at what autoimmune conditions have in common

Thursday 12 May 2022

Ten new projects just launched will study what might link autoimmune conditions, including gut damage, serotonin, genetics and more.

In MS, your immune system mistakenly attacks your own cells. The same thing happens in other autoimmune conditions, like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers want to know what these conditions have in common. Uncovering what's happening in the immune system in these conditions will help us develop new treatments. The new projects announced today will bring specialists from different autoimmune conditions together to understand more.

Projects that could lead to treatments

The ten individual projects come from across the UK and are all short term. This means they’ll quickly produce information. The goal is to be able to translate findings into things that can help people living with autoimmune conditions. Some of the projects want to answer questions like:

  • Why is the gut and the amount of “happy hormone” serotonin important in autoimmunity?
  • Can we trap certain immune cells in the body and use them as a potential treatment?
  • What genetic factors are common across different autoimmune conditions?

We’ve committed to raise nearly £40,000 towards this collaboration.

Our Chief Executive Nick Moberly says: “We’re thrilled by the wide range of research projects receiving funding. They'll help us gain a better understanding of autoimmune diseases with the ultimate aim of finding new treatments.”

Autoimmune conditions are linked

Around four million people in the UK live with an autoimmune condition such as MS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. And up to a third of people live with more than one of these conditions at once. So researchers think there might be underlying links between them which we don’t yet understand.

But research into autoimmune conditions often only looks at a single condition, like MS. Or a single organ, like the brain. If we link up research and look for common threads, we’ll be better able to treat these conditions in the future.

A unique collaboration to speed up research

Connect Immune is a partnership of charities that brings together the MS Society, type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, Versus Arthritis, British Society for Immunology, Alopecia UK, Coeliac UK, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance and Bowel Research UK. The projects will receive nearly £1 million in funding from a partnership of Connect Immune and the Lorna and Yuti Chernajovsky Biomedical Research Foundation.

Working together in this way will speed up research. So we can find new, better ways of treating these conditions sooner.