Working together to Connect Immune Research

Tuesday 8 June 2021

We're continuing to build our exciting partnership with more and more charities to fund research into autoimmune conditions.

Our growing partnership includes leading organisations dedicated to tackling autoimmune conditions. This includes the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, Versus Arthritis, the British Society for Immunology, Alopecia UK, Coeliac UK and the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance.

Together we’re funding research to help everyone living with an autoimmune condition.

Autoimmune conditions in the UK

Around four million people in the UK have an autoimmune condition. That's equivalent to more than six per cent of the population – but they're currently incurable. This includes

  • around 150,000 people living with MS
  • around 1.3 million people living with psoriasis
  • around 400,000 people living with type 1 diabetes
  • around 400,000 are living with rheumatoid arthritis

In all autoimmune conditions, our immune systems attack healthy cells. Up to a third of people living with an autoimmune condition live with more than one, which can lead to complex and costly health needs.

Connect Immune Research

The Connect Immune Research initiative brings together researchers from across autoimmune conditions to uncover the common threads in their work. We hope this will lead to new treatments, faster.

As well as speeding up research into new treatments for millions of people, the approach could also dramatically reduce costs. So, member charities believe this innovative approach could be key to help medical research adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Dr David Coutts, our Senior Research Manager, said:

“We want autoimmunity to be recognised as a distinct area of research science, alongside the likes of cancer, infectious disease and dementia. By autoimmune charities working together in this way, we hope to speed up and strengthen research so we can find a way of preventing these conditions.”

Stay tuned

We hope to announce the next series of Connect Immune Research awards by the end of 2021.

This blog was first published on 29 October 2018. We updated it on 8 June 2021. And again in May 2024, with the new figure for MS in the UK.