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Funding partnership with Cancer Research UK

Published on 17 January 2018

In March 2017, we announced that we would be partnering with Cancer Research UK in the area of immune homeostasis by running a sandpit-style workshop. The event took place in July 2017, and we are now pleased to update you on the outcomes of this workshop, including three new exciting research projects that were funded as a result.

The challenge

Both charities feel that the body’s own immune system is a very powerful mechanism to treat disease but it needs to be carefully controlled, so that it can be turned up to attack cancer without damaging healthy tissue in the process, or turned down in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis without losing its needed protective properties.

The event

The sandpit workshop, which took place across three days, brought together top researchers in the fields of inflammatory disease, and cancer. The researchers had the opportunity to define the scope of the challenge, share knowledge and expertise. There were a number of break-out sessions focused on challenges using creative thinking techniques. The final stage of the workshop allowed the newly formed research groups to capture the discussions, and use them to put together study proposals.

Funding outcomes

On the final day of the workshop, each group presented their research idea. Funding was awarded to three projects, these will begin in January 2018, and run for one year:

Immune pathways for drug side effects (IPADS)
Lay title: Understanding the mechanisms behind autoimmunity in cancer and arthritis patients

Synovial hyperplasia in rheumatoid arthritis and cancer (SHARC)
Lay title: Investigating the link between unregulated cell growth in rheumatoid arthritis and cancer

Does defective wound healing contribute to immune dysregulation in both cancer and arthritis?
Lay title: Does abnormal wound healing contribute to the immune changes seen in both cancer and arthritis?

One of the highlights of the event was that both charities had a patient advocate present throughout the workshop who provided guidance to the attendees, as well as providing a formal talk. For more information about the event, and the three projects we funded, you can download the workshop report (PDF 588.4 KB)

Immune homeostasis workshop report

Immune homeostasis workshop 

Download the immune homeostasis workshop report (PDF 588.4 KB) for more information about the event, and the three projects funded.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.