About the BSR Biologics Registers (BSRBR)
The British Society for Rheumatology runs two registers of patients receiving biological treatments: the BSR Rheumatoid Arthritis Register and the BSR Ankylosing Spondylitis Register. Together these are the BSRBRs. The Registers monitor the safety of biologics and biosimilars, providing valuable information about their effects in long-term use.
The first Register was set up in October 2001. This was the UK-wide BSRBR-RA, which recruits and follows up patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It monitors the long term risks of serious adverse events over and above those that might be expected in patients treated with conventional therapy. Although the primary aim of the BSRBRs are patient safety, a comprehensive range of data is collected.
In 2012 the BSRBR-AS became our second biologics Register.
Over the last couple of decades, a number of new biologic drugs have been developed and received National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) approval. Some of these drugs are being used after anti-TNFα therapy and some are proposed for first-line biologic use. These agents are targeted therapies and act on cells or cytokines which play a key role in inflammation and the functioning of the immune system. There are four drugs currently available which block the action of TNF (adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab and certolizumab pegol), one which blocks the IL1 receptor (anakinra), a T-cell modulator (abatacept), one which acts on CD20 antigen of B lymphocytes (rituximab) and one which blocks the action of IL-6 (tocilizumab). Now 'biosimilar' products can also be prescribed. Patients taking them can be recruited directly to the RA register and patients who are already on the AS register and then switch to a biosimilar continue on the AS register.
Both Registers are funded by the pharmaceutical companies which distribute the biologic therapies in the UK. The BSRBR-RA is sponsored by the University of Manchester where the study is hosted. The BSRBR-AS is sponsored by the University of Aberdeen.
The analysis of the data gathered on biologics has produced a range of scientific outputs - posters, papers and presentations at conferences around the UK, Europe and the world. This is a vital contribution to global understanding of the risk and benefits of biologics drugs, both for the doctors who prescribe them and the patients who have to use them.
The data in the Registers can be used by other researchers who are not part of the core academic teams. They can apply for access to some of the data to enable important additional research and analysis.
BSR is leading these unique research collaborations - between a medical professional society, academic researchers and the pharmaceutical industry, with participation from patients, consultant rheumatologists and allied health professionals across the UK. BSR is grateful for their ongoing help and support.
The project is co-ordinated through the BSRBR Steering Committee, chaired by Prof. Elaine Dennison and managed by the Head of Research Alan Roach. A sub-committee monitors ethical and safety issues. For more information about BSRBR contacts and governance, please follow the links below.