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Rheumatology and inflammation

The Inflammation Research Facility (IRF) is a satellite unit of the NIHR/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (CRF), which is based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), alongside the University of Birmingham research laboratories.

The IRF focuses on conditions with a major inflammatory component, such as autoimmune diseases. Many of our studies are supported and funded by:

  • the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
  • the Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre
  • universities
  • organisations such as Versus Arthritis
  • pharmaceutical companies

The IRF supports a wide range of research, including clinical trials. The contribution of research participants is dependent on the study and their trial involvement preferences.

We actively support patient and public involvement and engagement through awareness events. We also share information on opportunities to help shape and support research locally as much as we can.

We host rheumatology patient group meetings that feature guest speakers discussing emerging or requested topics. 

Common conditions and trial topics

The IRF sees patients with the following conditions, often alongside auto-immune disease:

  • Early inflammatory arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Scleroderma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and early COPD
  • Inflammation and the Ageing Process
  • Perceptions of Inflammatory Disease

Research participants work alongside our researchers in the design, delivery and recruitment to research studies. This is through a number of groups, including the Rheumatology Research Patient Partnership (R2P2). We also support the development of patient research champions to promote research awareness and access.

We value patient experience and regularly seek opportunities for feedback. We support the delivery of the annual NIHR participant in research experience survey (PRES), which invites those taking part in national studies to contribute, share their experiences and help shape the future delivery of research. 

Contact information

The team lead for rheumatology and inflammation is Elliott Forster.

Last reviewed: 10 May 2023