History of the Trust

Mathilda Kennedy, daughter of Michael Marks, the founder of Marks & Spencer, and her husband Terence Kennedy found the Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology. They make a £500,000 donation to the Board of Governors of West London and Charing Cross Hospitals to build a new Institute of Rheumatology in West London.

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Formal opening of the Kennedy Research Institute in Hammersmith, as the first in the world totally dedicated to the causes and cures of rheumatic diseases. The Institute’s first Director, Dr D L Gardner, establishes five divisions.

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HRH The Princess Margaret becomes Patron. The Institute is formally incorporated as a company limited by guarantee.

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In light of ongoing collaboration with the Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC), the Institute’s management committee is aligned with the Executive and Finance Committee of the ARC.

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Professor Marc Feldmann and Professor Ravinder Maini, already at the Kennedy Institute, start to collaborate on disease mechanisms in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Professor Feldmann joins the Sunley Research Centre. He and Professor Maini identify Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha as key in diseases of inflammation.

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The Lancet publishes a paper by Institute researchers Professors Fionula Brennan, Ravinder Maini and Marc Feldmann, noting that “In rheumatoid arthritis … anti-TNF alpha agents may be useful in treatment.”

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Professor Maini is appointed the Director of the Kennedy Institute.

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As the Institute and the Sunley Research Centre merge, Professor Maini succeeds Professor Sir James Gowans as the Director of the Sunley Research Centre at Charing Cross Hospital. Professor Feldmann and his group of scientists are integrated into the Kennedy Institute.

The first of a series of successful clinical trials to block TNF in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is held at Charing Cross Hospital.

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The Lancet publishes evidence for the benefits of anti-TNF alpha therapy.

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The Institute relocates to Charing Cross Hospital after building a new wing. The Boards of the Kennedy Institute and Arthritis Research Campaign are separated.

Anti-TNF drugs are approved for treatment. A new era of therapeutics is born: anti-TNF is shown to be effective and approved for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The Institute transfers its staff and research activities to the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, as the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology division. The Trust retains the intellectual property assets of the Institute and remains in existence as an independent charity, changing its name to The Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Trust.

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Prof Marc Feldman is appointed Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology (KIR) at Imperial College.

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Prof Feldman and Prof Maini are joint recipients of awards for their discovery of anti-TNF therapy of rheumatoid arthritis, including the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy in 2000, the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award in 2003, the Paul Janssen Prize in 2008 and in 2014, the Canada Gairdner Award

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The KIR and its staff transfer to the University of Oxford and become part of the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS). Professor Feldmann remains its Director.

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The Trust changes its name to the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research to reflect its wider role in supporting research.

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A purpose-built home for the KIR is completed in Oxford, funded by the Trust and the University.

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Professor Fiona Powrie FRS is appointed Director of the KIR, with the aim of developing a world leading basic and translational inflammation sciences institution and new knowledge leading to the treatment of inflammatory and degenerative diseases. HRH The Princess Royal opens the new purpose-built building. The Kennedy Institute grows to 130 staff with 18 principal investigators.

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