Gene regulating severity of tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis discovered by scientists

**** NO REPRODUCTION FEEE **** DUBLIN : 10/10/2013 : Arthritis Ireland. Pictured was XXX. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

Professor Gerry Wilson and his team have identified a new protein (C5orf30) which regulates the severity of tissue damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, pain, stiffness and damage to the joints of the feet, hips, knees, and hands.

Following the discovery published in the scientific journal PNAS (27 August), rheumatoid arthritis patients most likely to suffer the severest effects of the condition can now be identified early and fast-tracked to the more aggressive treatments available.

Although there is no cure for RA, new effective drugs are increasingly available to treat the disease and prevent deformed joints. Self-management of the condition by patients, including exercise, is also known to reduce pain and resulting disability.

To conduct the research, the international team of scientists from University College Dublin and the University of Sheffield, funded by Arthritis Ireland and the University of Sheffield, analysed DNA samples and biopsy samples from joints of over 1,000 Rheumatoid arthritis patients in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Our findings provide a genetic marker that could be used to identify those RA patients who require more aggressive treatments or personalised medicine,” said Professor Gerry Wilson from the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, who led the research.

“They also point to the possibility that increasing the levels of C5orf30 in the joints might be a novel method of reducing tissue damage caused by RA”.

Dr Munitta Muthana from the Medical School at the University of Sheffield, who co-authored the study said: “These exciting findings will prompt us to further explore the role of this highly conserved protein that we know so little about, and its significance in human health and disease”.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory of the types of arthritis affecting around 1% of the population. It is estimated that 30% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are unable to work within 10 years of onset of the condition. It affects more women than men, and often more severely. It is also most common between the ages of 40 and 70, but it can affect people of any age including children.

One of the biggest difficulties with treating the condition is early diagnosis. With early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, it is possible to reduce the damage to the joints caused by RA. Deciding the most appropriate treatment for each patient at the earliest possible stage is central to effectively tackling the condition.

“Investing in research to find new treatments and ultimately a cure for arthritis is one of our key objectives at Arthritis Ireland,” said John Church, CEO, Arthritis Ireland.

“Treatments for arthritis have improved enormously over the last number of years. Thirty years ago, rheumatologists’ waiting rooms were filled with people in wheelchairs. Today, that is no longer the case. The outlook for a person diagnosed with arthritis in 2015 is much brighter than it used to be. We are getting closer and closer to personalised medicine. This discovery is further proof that we are in the right space and investing our money wisely,” he added.

Professor Doug Veale takes on Ironman Challenge to help fund Arthritis Ireland Research

doug vealeOn August 9th, while most of us will still be enjoying our Sunday morning lie in, over 2,000 athletes will be starting a mammoth challenge that will take in the counties of Dublin, Meath and Kildare, and the sports of swimming, cycling and running.

Professor Doug Veale, Consultant Rheumatologist in St. Vincent’s Hospital is one of these athletes who will take on the Ironman 70.3 triathlon, to help raise funds for Arthritis Ireland.

Prof. Veale will swim 1.2 miles, cycle 56 miles and run 13.1 miles – all within and 8.5hour cut off- to raise funds which will support the Arthritis Ireland Research Nurse Network.

Will you support Prof. Veale as he takes on this challenge?

At Arthritis Ireland we know that with the right investment, new and better treatments can be found for arthritis which affects nearly 1 million adults and over 1,000 children in communities all around Ireland.

Ultimately, our goal is to find a cure.

To this end, Arthritis Ireland is funding research Chairs in UCD and in Trinity College, Dublin. A key part of this work is a team of specially trained nurses that will work in conjunction with the Chairs. They will collect blood and tissue samples from arthritis patients all over Ireland in order to speed up research.

However, we need your support to ensure that we can continue to fund this project.

By supporting Prof. Veale on this sporting challenge, you will be ensuring that Arthritis rDO6Eh6U_400x400Ireland can continue to invest in ground-breaking research, which will help lead to a better understanding of Arthritis, and the development of new treatments and drugs which will ensure that more people can reclaim their lives from this devastating disease.

100% of your donation will be directed towards funding this critical part of our research.

To make a donation and to leave Prof. Veale a message of support, please visit the online sponsorship page by clicking here.

Alternatively text the word JOINTS to 50300 to donate €4.

100% of your donation goes to Arthritis Ireland across most network operators. Some operators apply VAT which means that a minimum of €3.25 will go to Arthritis Ireland. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY Helpline:0766805278

“Give it a TRI” Micro-Triathlon

ArthritisIreland -14A study from the UK, by Dr Stephen Messier, shows that for each pound of body weight lost, there is a 4-pound reduction in knee joint stress among overweight and obese people. Researchers say the results indicate that even modest weight loss may significantly lighten the load on your on your joints.

A cornerstone philosophy at Arthritis Ireland is “moving is the best medicine”. With this in mind, we have launched a unique initiative to engage the Irish public to get out and get active. The Micro-triathlon is the first of its kind in Ireland. It is open to everyone, of all ages and all exercise levels.

John Murray, RTÉ Radio One Presenter, commented: “This is a fantastic idea from Arthritis Ireland. I have been a strong advocate of the benefits of exercise for many years, and with the alarming statistics released from the WHO the Micro-Triathlon couldn’t come at a better time. Ireland has to reverse the ticking time bomb of obesity and the Micro-Triathlon is the ideal goal to help us achieve this.”

Stephanie Casey, Head of Community Development, said: “We know that exercise is the magic pill for arthritis and fibromyalgia. But for many people living with chronic pain, even a short walk can be a huge challenge. We have designed our Micro-Triathlon to suit everyone, whether they have arthritis or simply want to get fit over the summer months. We believe that everyone has the potential to be a Micro-Triathlete!”

The Micro-Triathlon involves a 3km run/walk, 3km cycle and three lengths of a pool/ 30-minute aqua-aerobics class. You can take part as an individual or as a team. It takes place to coincide with National Arthritis Week, on October 10th & 11th, at various locations around the county including Sportslink, Santry on Sunday 11th of October. Registration is €30 for a team and €15 for an individual entry. For more information log on to

Minister Leo Varadkar goes Back To The School Yard,  in aid of Children with Arthritis 

Arthritis Ireland goes Back To The School Yard with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar – Image 2Children are often the forgotten face of Arthritis with over 1,000 children living with the condition in this country. Arthritis is often seen as an “old person’s disease” however, unfortunately it is also a chronic disease impacting on children and young people in Ireland with more and more cases appearing daily.

A recent online survey conducted by Arthritis Ireland found that over 40% of children diagnosed with arthritis were under 3 years of age and 37% of parents said the most difficult thing about their child having arthritis is the feeling of helplessness and inability to take away their pain. Children with arthritis face daily challenges that can severely impact their childhood, such as not being able to play outside in the school yard, brush their teeth or even hold their mothers hand. Children with arthritis also have to learn to manage their pain with some having injections 1-2 times a week, infusions and fortnightly hospital visits.

Paul Daly’s daughter, Fírinne, was diagnosed with Arthritis when she was only six years old. Paul said: “We were shocked when Fírinne was diagnosed, we didn’t even know children could get arthritis. We manage her condition as best we can but people don’t understand how bad things can get. Sometimes her joints are so swollen, inflamed and stiff. She is in so much pain a hug hurts.”

Arthritis Ireland is campaigning to change this perception with the help of Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. “Back To The School Yard” is a new campaign launched as they raise public awareness about Children with Arthritis and raise much-needed funds for support services to help children and their families. “Back To The School Yard” is a chance for people to organise a day of school yard games in their workplace or community and raise funds for Children with Arthritis.

Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health, said: Back To The School Yard is a great a idea for people to get involved in, as Arthritis Ireland raises much-needed funds and awareness for children living with Arthritis. And it also gives everyone an excuse to relive their childhood games.”

For more information log on to or call Emma on 01 6470205.

Children – the forgotten face of Arthritis

Arthritis Ireland goes Back To The School Yard with Devin Toner – Image 6Arthritis is often seen as an “old person’s disease” however, unfortunately it is also a chronic disease impacting on young people and children in Ireland with more and more cases appearing daily. There are over a 1,000 children living with the condition today in this country making them the forgotten face of Arthritis. A recent online survey conducted by Arthritis Ireland found that 41% of parents who have children living with the disease said their biggest fear was that their child won’t have a normal life into adulthood and 24% said they worry about their future. 70% of parents also said the most common response they get when they tell other adults their child has arthritis is amazement that the condition actually affects children in the first place.

Ireland has one of the lowest numbers of Consultant Paediatric Rheumatologists in Europe per head of population with the waiting list for diagnosis of children suspected of having arthritis being in excess of two years which is a very worrying statistic according to Arthritis Ireland.

Irene Collins daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with Arthritis when she was only two-and-a-half years old. Irene said: “We were shocked when Grace was diagnosed. It is a condition she lives with daily and people don’t always get what that means and the harsh impact it has on her childhood. Sometimes she’s in so much pain she can’t even walk”.

Arthritis Ireland is campaigning to change this perception. Today, with the help of Irish & Leinster Rugby player Devin Toner, they launched a new campaign to raise public awareness about Children with Arthritis and raise much-needed funds for support services to help children and their families. “Back To The School Yard” is a chance for people to organise a day of school yard games in their workplace or community and raise funds for Children with Arthritis.

Devin Toner said: “I am delighted to be involved with this campaign as Arthritis Ireland raises much-needed funds and awareness for children living with Arthritis. “Back To The School Yard” is such a great idea to get people involved, who wouldn’t love to go back and relive their childhood games? We all have a competitive streak, not just me!”

For more information log on to or call Emma on 01 6470205.


Arthritis Ireland & Team RAD join together in the fight against arthritis.

Arthritis Ireland are delighted to announce a new partnership with Team RAD, (Racing with Autoimmune Disease) for the coming year.

Kenny Bucke, Team RAD will take part in this years Working on a Cure Cycle on June 7th for Arthritis Ireland.

Kenny Bucke, Team RAD will take part in this years Working on a Cure Cycle on June 7th for Arthritis Ireland.

A cycling club for people with arthritis and other autoimmune conditions, Team RAD was established in autumn of 2014.

John Church, CEO of Arthritis Ireland said;

We are delighted to be supporting Team RAD. This partnership will help promote a positive message around Arthritis and that it can be managed effectively. We are firm advocates that regular exercise is a key part in managing a disease such as arthritis and that cycling, as a low impact sport, is a perfect fit.

As well as this members of Team RAD will be taking part in the Arthritis Ireland Working on a Cure Cycle in Wicklow on June 7th and will be raising funds to funds research into new treatments, and ultimately a cure for arthritis.

Team RAD was set up by Kenny Bucke, who first experienced symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) when he was 35.

“I want to show that you can still compete if you have an autoimmune condition. Training with a club like this means you’ll be with other people who understand your symptoms so we may have different ways of doing things.

I think that if you are into sports, you will find a way to do it. Even with arthritis. I hope that people will also look at our club and think that if we can cycle 100km with arthritis, then maybe they’ll think they can get out for a walk or go for a swim. It might motivate more people to get moving.”

 Over the course of the coming year, Arthritis Ireland and Team RAD will work together to increase awareness of Arthritis as a disease that affects younger people. They will also work together to promote cycling as a key part of managing their disease while looking to establish cycling groups, similar to the Arthritis Ireland walking groups.

As part of the partnership, the Arthritis Ireland logo will appear on Team RAD’s club kit which will further raise awareness at cycling events nationally of the partnership.

If you would like to take part in Arthritis Ireland’s Working on a Cure Cycle this June 7th, visit  To find out more about Team RAD, visit

Find the Fundraising Activity that SUITS You in 2015, Public Urged

Arthritis Ireland launches its 2015 fundraising events calendar

“Find the fundraising activity that SUITS you in 2015!” – That was the message fromD16110-23 Cormac Ó’Raghallaigh (11), Emily Haughton (11), both of whom have arthritis, and her sister, Mya (4), as they called on the public to beat the January blues by taking on a fundraising activity in aid of people with arthritis.

At the launch of Arthritis Ireland’s Calendar of Events 2015, Cormac, Emily and Mya urged people to get down to business on their New Year’s resolutions by taking on a run, cycle, organise a bake sale or any activity they wish to raise badly-needed funds.

D16110-18Arthritis Ireland, Head of Fundraising, Emma Barrett, said: “With just 12% of our income coming from the State, Arthritis Ireland must raise the remaining 88% in order to provide vital services that people with arthritis need to take control of their disease in communities across the country. Arthritis affects almost 1 million people in Ireland, including more than 1,000 children like Cormac and Emily, and they are relying on the support of the public in 2015.”

Check out our Calendar of Events 2015.

For further information or to contact our fundraising team about the different activities to choose from, please call (01)6470205, email or visit