The Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research

  • The Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The collection comprises material relating to the work of the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research (formerly the Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology). A large proportion of the archive traces the role of the Kennedy Institute/Trust in the development and delivery of anti-TNF therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. This includes material relating to anti-TNF research, sponsors/collaborators, clinical trials and licensing, 1990s-2010s. The collection also traces the founding, governance and administration of the Kennedy Institute/Trust including founding papers, photographs, annual reports, committee papers and papers relating to the organisation’s collaborations and relocations, 1960s-2010s. The collection finally contains some papers of scientists Marc Feldmann and Ravinder Maini relating to their role as inventors of anti-TNF therapy and directors of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, 1960s-2010s.



Physical description

201 boxes; 3 uncatalogued boxes, 24 digital items 19.38 MB (20,337,970 bytes)


The collection has largely been organised according to the groupings that the material was originally in. The sections of the collection have been arranged to reflect the activities of the organisation and to acknowledge the development of anti-TNF as a key activity of the Institute/Trust. Links between different parts of the collection have been made where relevant. Some additional arrangement has taken place where we have felt that the material corresponds more to a relevant section. The main sections can be found here:

A-Drug Development

B-Founding, Governance and Administration

C-Scientist Papers

Acquisition note

Deposited by the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research in May 2019, May 2023 and January 2024.

Biographical note

The Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research was founded in the 1960s. It was formerly known as the Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology (1969-2000) and The Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Trust (2000-2012).

In c.1961 The Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Charitable Trust donated £500,000 to the Charing Cross Hospital Group to build the world’s first research institute to be dedicated to the causes and cures of rheumatic disease. Mathilda and Terence Kennedy were motivated to contribute to the development of a research institute after their general practitioner Dr Leslie Lankester was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The funds donated by the Kennedy’s went towards the Institute building which commenced in 1965 and was completed in 1966. This first building was in Bute Gardens Hammersmith. The Institute was initially governed by a management committee established in 1962 and The Kennedy Institute was formerly incorporated in 1969.

The first director of the Kennedy Institute was Professor Dugald Gardner. Succeeding directors include Dr L E Glynn, Professor Helen Muir, Professor Ravinder Maini, Professor Marc Feldmann and Professor Fiona Powrie. The first President of the Institute was Terence Kennedy. HRH Princess Margaret was Patron of the Institute between 1969 and c.2000.

As well as the funds donated by the Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Charitable Trust, the Institute was supported by the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council who supplied an annual core grant between the 1960s and 1992. This was followed by a quinquennial grant until c.2010. To reflect this funding, between 1977 and 1997 The Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Management Committee and The Arthritis and Rheumatism Council Executive and Finance Committee were merged.

During 1992, the Kennedy Institute relocated to the Charing Cross Hospital campus, taking over the building previously occupied by the Sunley Research Centre. This building was refurbished between 1995 and 1997 with building work being funded by The Arthritis and Rheumatism Council.

In 2000, the Institute's staff and research activities were incorporated into Imperial College as the 10th division of the newly formed Faculty of Medicine and the Institute changed its name to the Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Trust.

In 2011 the Kennedy Institute joined the University of Oxford as an independent constituent Institute within the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Science (NDORMS). In 2013 the Institute moved into a new building co-funded by the Kennedy Trust and the University of Oxford.

In 2012 the Trust changed their name to The Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research to reflect the Trust's wider role in supporting research.

As of 2023 the Kennedy Trust funds and supports research at the Kennedy Institute as well as a range of individuals across many UK universities. Its longer-term objective is to achieve a meaningful impact in the development of cures and preventative treatment for musculoskeletal and related inflammatory diseases.

Anti-TNF Drug Development

In 1984, Professor Ravinder Maini at the Kennedy Institute started to research disease mechanisms in rheumatoid arthritis in collaboration with Professor Marc Feldmann from the Sunley Research Centre. In 1985, Feldmann and Maini identified antibody Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha as a key component in diseases of inflammation and therapeutic target. This work was performed with the help of Professor Fionula Brennan, Dr Glen Buchan and Dr Richard Williams and the results of the research were published in the Lancet in 1989.

In 1992 Professors Maini and Feldmann led a proof of principle clinical trial using a chimeric anti-human TNFα monoclonal antibody (cA2), developed by a US biotechnology company, Centocor. The first trial involved twenty patients and lasted eight weeks. The results of this first trial showed significant improvement in all patients treated. The early cA2 studies were followed by ten years of subsequent studies trialling the drug in patients with varying degrees of rheumatoid arthritis and with other drugs such as methotrexate.

The process of patenting and licensing anti-TNF began in the early 1990s. The first anti-TNF therapy licensed for clinical use was called infliximab/Remicade. It was first approved for use in Chron’s disease in c.1997 and approved for use rheumatoid arthritis in 1999. Anti-TNF therapy can also be used for other inflammatory conditions including ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. By 2014 there were five anti-TNF drugs in clinical use and three of the five top-selling drugs in the world were anti-TNF. To this day new targets are being identified and approved.

Professors Feldmann and Maini received Knighthoods for their pioneering work on anti-TNF, as well as several prestigious international prizes, such as the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy in 2000, the Albert Lasker Clinical Research in 2003, and in 2014 the Canada Gairdner Award.

Relevant sources relating to the history of the Institute, Trust and anti-TNF include the following:

The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology
The Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research
Versus Arthritis anti-TNF Treatment Revolution

Copyright note

Transferred to Wellcome.

Terms of use

This collection has been catalogued and is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.

Appraisal note

Duplicate and routine administrative patent related material has been disposed of as part of the cataloguing work, 2022-2023. Duplicate photographs, minutes, annual reports and personal correspondence have been returned to the Kennedy Trust. The Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research were consulted on all appraisal decisions.

Accruals note

Future accruals may be expected.

Ownership note

Three original accessions of records were transferred from the Kennedy Trust in 2019, from three locations: the former Kennedy Trust office in Hammersmith. Two further accessions of material were acquired in 2019 and 2020: from the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in Oxford and from a storage centre in Rainham. In 2023 another accession was acquired as part of the cataloguing work from the Kennedy Trust offices in Hammersmith. In 2024 another accession was aquired from Ravinder Maini's home in Hammersmith as part of the Kennedy Trust collection.

Permanent link


Accession number

  • 2505
  • 2514
  • 2570
  • 2715
  • 2750