Research & Projects

Research & Projects supported by Cornwall Arthritis Trust

The Rheumatology Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCHT) continues to be active in research and continues to participate in clinical trials of new therapies supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network and RCHT R&D Department, with support from research nurses.

Professor Tony Woolf is Honorary Professor at University of Exeter Medical School and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and supporting a research group. Dr David Hutchinson is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at University of Exeter Medical School.

Cornwall Arthritis Trust funds this website and also funds a range of other research and projects in Cornwall.

Dr David Hutchinson runs a research programme looking at risk factors for RA and in particular occupational factors related to dust and cadmium. This is being investigated by Alex White, PhD student at Exeter University and Dr Dan Murphy who will shortly submit his MD thesis. This work is resulting in several publications and has been supported in part by the Cornwall Arthritis Trust. It is hoped that the work already done should continue to be supported so that current projects can be completed which can then be used to develop a research programme that will attract external research grant funding.

Prof Woolf is co-leading on the ongoing assessment of the Global Burden of Musculoskeletal conditions. This has now identified musculoskeletal conditions as the greatest cause of disability globally and in most countries including the UK. This project generated many high quality highly cited scientific publications and is influencing priorities of health systems in UK and other countries and regions.

Prof Woolf with Prof Lyn March, University of Sydney, are leading work on musculoskeletal health and ageing with the World Health Organisation.  This is to ensure musculoskeletal health is seen as a key part of healthy ageing and that more is done to prevent and treat musculoskeletal conditions.

A programme of projects is being developed related to musculoskeletal health in the workplace. The first is to establish standards for what a good employer should do with a guide. Cornwall Arthritis Trust has funded a pilot project with RCHT and Derriford Hospitals, Cornwall County Council and some local employers. This research is informing standards being developed for employers and the training programme.  A guide for employees in Cornwall has been developed with the support of a grant from the Cornwall Arthritis Trust.  This work has provided the content for an online toolkit developed by Public Health England.  Arthritis Research UK are wanting to support this programme of work.

The UWEZO Project to train first line health workers in Kenya has been awarded grants by the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET), and is recognised by the Kenyan Ministry of Health. This project has been supported by Cornwall Arthritis Trust. Training courses for clinical officers on basic rheumatology and for patients on self management are being delivered across Kenya and a good assessment was received from THET.  Further funding is still being sought.

Dr Jo Erwin and Prof Woolf are examining the risk factors for osteoporosis and fracture in people with inflammatory forms of arthritis supported by a grant from Pfizer.  This follows work done to develop guidelines for prevention of osteoporosis in this group which identified lack of data.