The Arthritis Research Coalition (ARC) was established in 2016 by rheumatologists across Ireland to support research studies and clinical trial activities.

The primary aim of the biobank is recruit patients with common rheumatic diseases, and obtain biosamples that will underpin clinical research. A secondary aim is to increase national involvement in clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents.

The ARC Biobank is open in seven hospitals across Ireland:

  • The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin
  • St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin
  • Cork University Hospital, Cork
  • University Hospital Limerick, Limerick
  • Beaumont Hospital, Dublin
  • Children's Health Ireland at Crumlin, Dublin
  • University Hospital Galway


Research leads

Coalition lead: Prof Gerry Wilson

Rheumatoid arthritis  Prof Doug Veale
Connective tissues diseases  Dr Grainne Murphy
Paediatrics Dr Orla Killeen
Scleroderma Dr Bernadette Lynch
Gout Prof Geraldine McCarthy


The importance of this research

A recent report assessing rheumatology research excellence, measured by the number of citations per article published between 1996 and 2010, ranked Ireland 1st of the 35 richest countries. Major research outputs have included molecular studies on the pathogenesis of common rheumatic diseases, the discovery and validation of prognostic biomarkers, and clinical studies on novel therapies. These have relied on the recruitment of highly characterized patients populations and by the development of linked biorepositories of blood and synovial tissue.

Despite these successes the research activity has been reliant on a fragmented and poorly funded infrastructure. The development of national rheumatology research networks in many European countries including Britain, Sweden and The Netherlands highlights their value. The establishment of Arthritis Ireland chairs, and the development of a Dublin Centre of Excellence, will form the foundation of national rheumatology research strategy, however, the development of a research nurse network will seek to engage all clinicians, co-ordinate all research activities and ensure that Ireland remains on top.


This coalition is supported by Arthritis Ireland and the Health Research Board Clinical Research Coordination Ireland (HRB CRCI).

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