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The Kennedy Institute recently hosted a visit from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) to explore opportunities to partner on patient involvement approaches in arthritis research.

Professor Chris Buckley (left) meets the NRAS team.
Professor Chris Buckley (left) meets the NRAS team.

Ailsa Bosworth (CEO)*, Clare Jacklin (Deputy CEO) and Ian Nicol (Head of RA Services) met the Kennedy Director of Clinical Research, Prof Chris Buckley, to learn about new research programmes at the Kennedy Institute aimed at delivering improved therapies for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Speaking of the visit, Ailsa said “My colleagues and I were incredibly impressed with all the critically important research that goes on at the Kennedy. Being a patient myself, it’s hugely reassuring to know that so much cutting-edge research is being done, which gives great hope to people still struggling with their disease. We were particularly taken by the ‘basket’ approach to clinical trials in auto-immune diseases described by Prof. Buckley – it makes so much sense to look at different auto-immune conditions in the same trial. We look forward to working with Chris and his colleagues at the Kennedy.”

Chris said, “Engaging with people with arthritis is increasingly important as the Kennedy Institute expands its portfolio of translational and clinical research. Beyond clinical trials, patient partners add value to many aspects of the research process from honing researcher communication skills, to facilitating ethics approvals and offering new perspectives on the value and impact of research. Partnerships with patient groups, such as the NRAS, will help ensure careful planning of our clinical research strategy to maximise benefits both for our research and ultimately for people with arthritis themselves” 

The Kennedy Institute launched the Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP) in 2017 to deliver novel therapies for RA and other immune-mediated inflammatory disorders. The programme brings together the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford and seven NHS partners, supported by the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research. By pioneering use of basket trials that assess how new or repurposed drugs affect disease processes in tissues across a range of immune-mediated inflammatory disorders, the A-TAP team hope to speed up the delivery of effective therapies that treat the causes of disease and not just their symptoms.

The NRAS was founded by Ailsa in 2001 to support and empower people living with rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile inflammatory arthritis. The charity seeks to raise awareness, educate patients and promote self-management, while also campaigning for improved services and treatment across the UK.  Learn more about the work of NRAS and Ailsa’s story.

  • Note: Ailsa stood down as CEO after 18 years on 26th June at the NRAS AGM and takes on a new role as NRAS National Patient Champion. Ailsa is succeeded by her Deputy CEO, Clare Jacklin, with whom she has worked for the past 12 years.

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