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Tuesday 04 June 2024

Southampton doctor wins lifetime contribution award

Professor Chris Edwards has been praised for his work in autoimmunity at an international congress.

He was presented with the AESKU Lifetime Contribution to Autoimmunity Award.

Prof Edwards is a leading expert in inflammatory rheumatic diseases. The award recognises his significant contributions from his career, including through research.

A lifetime contribution

Autoimmunity is when the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages its own healthy cells and tissues. This happens in many different conditions, known as autoimmune diseases.

These include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Prof Edwards has extensive experience treating patients with these conditions.

He has been a Consultant Rheumatologist at University Hospital Southampton for 23 years. He has also been a Professor of Clinical Rheumatology at the University of Southampton for nine years.

Crucially, Prof Edwards has made research a core part of his career.

He is Co-Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility. This is an extensive space for early-stage clinical research in the heart of Southampton General Hospital.

“I am honoured to receive this prestigious award,” he said, “and would like to say thank you to everyone who has helped me achieve this. I hope that, through my clinics and research, I can continue to help improve the lives of those with inflammatory rheumatic diseases.”

Recognising excellence

The AESKU Lifetime Contribution to Autoimmunity Award is selected every two years. It is presented at the International Congress on Autoimmunity.

Prof Edwards was one of just three people to receive this year’s award.

The Congress is the largest multidisciplinary meeting that discusses all aspects of the related diseases under one roof. This month’s 14th edition of the gathering took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

A distinguished career

Prof Edwards completed his medical degree at Kings College London.

His formal rheumatology training was at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals. This was followed by a research degree whilst a Lecturer at Charing Cross Hospital and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology.

He worked as a Consultant Rheumatologist in Singapore for one year before moving to Southampton.

Prof Edwards is currently recruiting patients to various trials, including the POLARISE study. This is investigating a cell therapy as a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus nephritis.

He is also co-lead for the MOOSE study, which aims to find out whether methotrexate injections are more effective than tablets at controlling rheumatoid arthritis.