Arthritis Research Foundation

To beat arthritis and autoimmune diseases.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

Founded in 1998, the Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre (AARC), whose scientists work at the University Health Network, Mount Sinai Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children is North America’s most comprehensive collaborative dedicated to arthritis research. Its disciplined and dedicated minds are working toward the prevention, treatment and cure for arthritis and autoimmune disorders. The Toronto research centre is certainly Canada’s largest – and one of the few worldwide – to concentrate exclusively on arthritis and autoimmune disorders. AARC brings together an elite group of over 50 world-leading experts – rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons, immunologists, chemists, bioengineers, medical imaging specialists, geneticists, biostatisticians, computational scientists, and population health researchers – working to create a better future for millions of affected Canadians. The Arthritis Research Foundation is the primary philanthropic funder of this very special Centre, always seeking new ways to ensure this critical research continues to develop and thrive and to beat arthritis.

Accolades and Accomplishments

The Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre is the largest centre of its kind in Canada. AARC scientists are acknowledged for their achievements with scholarly awards and successes in competitive grant funding. AARC Investigators published more papers and were more cited than high-impact peer groups and have increasing proportions of high-impact papers.

Recently, the BioEngineering group’s Microfabrication Centre was opened in the T. Robert Beamish Family Convergence Centre. While the quality of the research taking place in this laboratory has always been world-class, the engineering component is unique and transformative. This Centre was made possible through a generous pledge by the Beamish Family and is now one of the most dynamic research environments in North America with many people of different disciplines and expertise collaborating to find research breakthroughs.

Our Programs How We Do It

Research

The Arthritis Research Foundation serves to raise funds in order to ensure the best patient outcomes and to end the pain and suffering for the over 4.6 million Canadians who suffer from arthritis.

Education & Awareness

The Arthritis Research Foundation provides educational opportunities to Torontonians via patient forums on specific diseases such as psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma and ankylosing spondylitis.

 

Women's Health

It is incredible to think that of the over 100 types of arthritis, women are affected in greater proportions in all with the exception of three. For example, 9 out of every 10 people affected by lupus are women, with the peak onset occurring during childbearing years. Women also consistently report higher rates of both arthritis and arthritis-related physical disabilities, having a profound impact on their family, work and social capabilities. AARC researchers are committed to finding out why women get these diseases more than men, what the impact is of living with these diseases and how we can improve treatment and self-management of these chronic conditions for women.

Funding and Program Partners

We have many generous donors throughout the GTA, without their support we would be unable to provide funding for researchers to help beat arthritis.

Program Impact

This program will help improve researh, answer research questions that will help us better understand these illnesses and lead us to improved treatments, therapies and strategies for women living with these chronic conditions.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“Out of an estimated 2006 Aboriginal population of close to 27,000 people in the Toronto Region, over half (58%) of First Nations adults and 55% of Métis were living with at least one diagnosed chronic illnesses, the most common conditions being respiratory problems, high blood pressure, heart problems or the effects of a stroke (22%) or arthritis and rheumatism (27% of the Métis population, compared with 15.4% of the total Toronto population).”

Participant Vignette

  • “Over the past twenty years, I’ve been on every drug therapy available, undergone nine operations and watched this disease take an extreme toll on my body. Because of research, someone diagnosed today will never have to experience the tremendous pain and joint destruction that many of us have lived with.”
  • “I was first diagnosed when I was 10 years old. I went from playing sports at a highly competitive level, to not being able to walk. I was bedridden for four years. Thanks to the treatments I’ve received, I’m now able to run an ultra-marathon.”
  • “AARC’s surgeons replaced all my knuckles, fused my thumb, and straightened my fingers that were going out in every direction. I am now virtually pain-free.”
  • “When my son was born, I couldn’t hold him. There were times when the pain was so bad I felt like I wanted to die. AARC has made a huge impact – it has given me back a life.”
  • “The therapy has had an incredible impact on my life and my ability to cope with this disease…I literally felt better within three hours of my first treatment.”
  • “In my early twenties, I was studying voice at the University of Toronto. I developed an earache that lasted for months. Soon I experienced hearing loss and was no longer able to sing. Like all autoimmune disorders, your own body becomes the enemy.”

 

Imaging Inflammation

Inflammation is a common component of all arthritis and autoimmune diseases. We know that through high resolution imaging, we will be able to diagnose the disease early, identify which cells are causing damage, determine which drug therapy is best for the patient, and then accurately measure the responsiveness. This could be life altering for patients. We are fortunate to have the state of the art STTARR Innovation Centre at MaRS, where we have over $20M in high resolution imaging equipment available.

Program Impact

The impact for patients is life changing! The earlier patients are diagnosed, the sooner they are on the right therapy - allowing clinicians to achieve their goal of getting patients the right treatment, at the right time.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“Out of an estimated 2006 Aboriginal population of close to 27,000 people in the Toronto Region, over half (58%) of First Nations adults and 55% of Métis were living with at least one diagnosed chronic illnesses, the most common conditions being respiratory problems, high blood pressure, heart problems or the effects of a stroke (22%) or arthritis and rheumatism (27% of the Métis population, compared with 15.4% of the total Toronto population).”

Participant Vignette

  • “It was very helpful to see the visuals for the various stages of scleroderma. This topic is so vast, there is still a lot for me to learn and understand. Thanks for providing this opportunity to the public.”
  • “Most helpful. Watching my sister-in-law battle scleroderma there didn’t appear to be hope. Today there seems to be more understanding of the disease and therefore more hope for control of this disease.”
  • “Excellent lecture! Extremely informative and exceptionally well delivered and organized. I learned a lot – motivated to learn more.”
  • “Better than excellent.”

What You Can Do

Activities a donation will support

By becoming an Arthritis Research Foundation partner, you are putting the power of research to work and making a commitment to help change the future. Research advances will not only help change the lives of those living with these debilitating diseases, they will also help lighten the load for the Canadian economy.

Donation impact

As one of the most costly disease groups in the country, supporting research means intervening now to help find ways to alleviate the incredible burden arthritis poses on our economy through treatment, care, lost wages and productivity.

“By 2015 over 5M Canadians will be affected by one form of arthritis and 2/3 are women. The burden of arthritis has definitely reached a crisis level in Canada, and it must be addressed now.”

Dr. Eleanor Fish, former Scientific Director, AARC

Donation impact

To ensure that patients receive the most effective treatments available to reduce or eliminate the pain and suffering caused by arthritis or one of its related autoimmune conditions, with the best possible outcomes, so they can live full productive lives,

Contact

Joy Davidson
Executive Lead, Partner Foundations
416.586.3224
Charitable Number: 119290773RR0001
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