Pfizer UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are expanding their partnership to support vital research into chronic pain, atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata, vitiligo and plaque psoriasis.
Following the success of the first fellowship programme, Pfizer UK is co-funding further grants for the Doctoral and Advanced Fellowships to ensure research can continue into these key areas of unmet need.
The NIHR’s Fellowship Programme supports individuals on a trajectory to become future leaders in research. Through this novel partnership, the UK’s largest funder of health and care research and one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies can together drive innovation in key areas of health research and lead to breakthroughs that ultimately change patients’ lives.
At doctoral level, opportunities will be available to propose research in the area of chronic pain. Chronic pain affects up to a third of the population, it is defined as any pain that lasts for more than 3 months. The scale of long-term chronic pain in the UK has a significant impact on both the health and wealth of the nation. It has been referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’ by The British Pain Society,1 affecting patients’ quality of life, causing fatigue, loss of mobility,2 and comorbidities including mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.3
For advanced fellowships, opportunities will be available to propose research in a number of skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata, vitiligo and plaque psoriasis.
Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as eczema, is the most common chronic inflammatory skin disease,4 affecting 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults in the UK.5 Beyond the intense itch and discomfort caused by AD, sleep loss, diminished self-esteem and poor performance at school and work are associated with the condition.6
Alopecia areata is a common cause of non-scarring hair loss.7 The exact causes are still unclear but the evidence suggests that alopecia areata results from an abnormality in the immune system that damages hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. It is an area of high unmet medical need and can be psychologically devastating.8
Vitiligo is a depigmenting skin disorder that is characterised by the selective loss of melanocytes, resulting in irregular pale patches of skin.9 The precise cause of vitiligo is complex and not fully understood. It is often dismissed as a cosmetic problem, however it can be associated with substantial psychological burden that is experienced by many patients.10
Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory, immune-mediated skin disease. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form, accounting for 90% of cases.11 It manifests as red, raised lesions covered with silvery-white scales, and can have a significant negative impact on patients' quality of life.12
The application process for all NIHR doctoral and advanced fellowships, including those co-funded by Pfizer, is now open. For more information regarding the fellowships visit www.nihr.ac.uk/explore-nihr/academy-programmes/fellowship-programme.htm or email [email protected].
*Pfizer has provided 50% of the funding for this project as an Independent Research Fund Grant. Pfizer has provided a grant only and has no other involvement in the fellowship.
- The British Pain Society. The silent epidemic – chronic pain in the UK Accessed Nov 2021.
- Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance. Chronic Pain – This Is How It Feels Accessed Nov 2021.
- Lépine, J. & Briley, M. The epidemiology of pain in depression. Human Psychopharmacology, vol. 19, no. S1, pp. S3-S7, 2004 Accessed Nov 2021.
- Weidinger S, Beck LA, Bieber T, Kabashima K, Irvine AD. Atopic dermatitis. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. 2018;4(1):1.
- National Eczema Society. What is Eczema? Accessed Nov 2021.
- Fortson E, Feldman S, Strowd L. Stressors in Atopic Dermatitis. Management of Atopic Dermatitis. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;1027:71-77
- Islam N, Leung PS, Huntley AC, Gershwin ME. The autoimmune basis of alopecia areata: a comprehensive review. Autoimmun Rev. 2015;14(2):81-9.
- Wagner, A. Industry Perspective on Alopecia Areata. Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings. 2015;17(2):67-69
- Bergqvist C, Ezzedine K. Vitiligo: A Review. Dermatology. 2020;236:571-592
- Ezzedine K, Sheth V, Rodrigues M, Eleftheriadou V, Harris JE, Hamzavi IH, et al. Vitiligo is not a cosmetic disease. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;73(5): 883-885.
- Griffiths C, Barker J. Pathogenesis and clinical features of psoriasis. The Lancet. 2007;370(9583):263-71
- Feldman SR, Goffe B, Rice G, Mitchell M, Kaur M, Robertson D, Sierka D, Bourret JA, Evans TS, Gottlieb A. The Challenge of Managing Psoriasis: Unmet Medical Needs and Stakeholder Perspectives. Am Health Drug Benefits. 2016;9(9):504-513.
PP-PFE-GBR-4213 / November 2021