Joint and Related Inflammatory Diseases | Translational Research Collaboration

An image of hands showing pain radiating from the wrist joint

The NIHR Translational Research Collaboration in joint and related inflammatory diseases (TRC) brings together internationally recognised investigators in the UK's leading centres of excellence to carry out early phase research.

Work with the NIHR Joint and Related Inflammatory Translational Research Collaboration

This NIHR Translational Research Collaboration carries out outstanding translational research in joint and related inflammatory diseases.

Together with industry partners, the TRC focuses on early phase clinical research in patients to identify mechanisms of pathophysiology of disease, or to demonstrate proof of concept or evidence of the validity of new discoveries or treatments.

Who is this for?

The TRC undertake commercial and non-commercial studies with industry partners, and engages with all sectors of the life sciences industry, including Clinical Research Organisations (CROs).

To be suitable for TRC support, a project is expected to:

  • involve one or more industry partners
  • focus on a disease area recognised as a TRC area of expertise
  • bring significant academic value and the opportunity for scientific leadership from the TRC
  • be at an early stage to enable input and feedback on study design and adopt a collaborative approach to study design
  • utilise experimental medicine approaches such as novel exploratory endpoints, biomarkers and stratification strategies
  • have a trial management team or delegated CRO or academic clinical trial unit in place to ensure effective study delivery

The TRC experts will help you to shape your protocol, providing advice on study design. If you already have a fully-developed protocol and are only looking for recruitment sites the NIHR Clinical Research Network will be able to help you. Find out more about this service in the Support my study section of this website.

The TRC can offer scientific advice when there is a clear intent to deliver the study through the TRC, they are not designed to act as stand-alone advisory boards. 

Benefits of working with the TRC

The TRC provide easy access to a network of academic centres and experts embedded in UK universities and NHS hospitals who are available to work collaboratively on early phase clinical studies.

The TRC centres operate to common business processes. This makes it quicker and easier for industry to work with the expert investigators within the NHS.

The TRC provide operational support, including a standard pre-approved non-disclosure agreement, contractual templates and a close working relationship with the NIHR Clinical Research Network for identification of sites.

Areas of expertise

The TRC specialties include:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • psoriatic arthritis
  • spondyloarthropathies
  • Sjögren's syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

The TRC regularly reviews areas of unmet clinical need to determine emerging topics that could become a focus for the group.

TRC in joint and related inflammatory diseases academic centres

Lead academic


Professor David Isenberg University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust; University College London
Professor Peter C Taylor Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust; University of Oxford
Professor John Isaacs The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Newcastle University
Professor Costantino Pitzalis Barts Health NHS Trust; Queen Mary University of London
Professor Ian Bruce  Manchester Academic Health Science Centre
Professor Chris Buckley The University of Birmingham; Birmingham/Sandwell/Dudley Hospitals
Dr Natasha Jordan Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; University of Cambridge
Dr Matthew Pickering Imperial College London; Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust 
Professor Andrew Cope  King's Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre 
Professor David Walsh Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; University of Nottingham
Professor Maya Buch University of Leeds; Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Professor Chris Edwards University of Southampton; University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust


Study investigates new lupus treatment

An illustration of the human skeleton depicting joint pain

A clinical trial to develop new treatments for patients with the chronic autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is being run by the TRP in joint and related inflammatory diseases.

The biological drug Rituximab can provide temporary improvements for lupus patients and was approved as a treatment in 2012. However after the initial improvements, some patients can experience ever worsening flares. The research team believe that another drug, belimumab, could be used to prevent flares in patients with SLE post rituximab therapy by blocking the actions of the B cell growth factor BAFF.

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New drug aims to prevent arthritis

An x-ray of hand and wrists

A pioneering drug is being tested by the TRP in joint and related inflammatory diseases which could bring hope to the millions of Britons who are likely to one day suffer from arthritis. The drug aims to prevent people from developing arthritis, unlike existing treatments that only treat the debilitating disease once it has set in.

The study of the drug Abatacept is the world's largest ever trial investigating whether targeted immunotherapy can prevent rheumatoid arthritis in individuals considered to be at high risk of developing the disease.

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