02 May 2024

The MovIng to Support Sustained Improvement of Outcomes iNRheumatoid Arthritis (MISSION-RA) project

The MISSION-RA project is a programme of research with the aim of supporting people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis to lead physically active lifestyles. MISSION-RA is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

What is the study about?

Research tells us that physical activity is good for people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, we know that physical activity can be a challenge due to symptoms like pain and fatigue.

The MISSION-RA study aims to develop a digital health intervention to help people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis engage in physical activity. This will be done through designing a mobile health app – the MISSION-RA app – which links with a popular physical activity tracker, the Fitbit.

The MISSION-RA app will be designed specifically for, and by people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This will be done in two ways. Firstly, a series of interviews, focus groups and workshops will be conducted with people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, to develop the app. Then, artificial intelligence will be used within the app to provide personalised support, based on a person’s activity patterns and self-reported symptoms (such as pain, fatigue and mobility)

In the video below, Dr. Sally Fenton introduces the MISSION-RA project, and outlines the aims of MISSION-RA and what it hopes to achieve.

The MISSION-RA project is being funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). It is being led by Dr. Sally Fenton at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Oxford, Loughborough University, and the Universities of Bristol and Southampton.

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society are delivery partners of the MISSION-RA project

A priority of the MISSION-RA project is to involve people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis in the research process at all stages. This includes developing the research idea, helping to collect data, communicating research findings and helping to generate real impact at the end of the study. To facilitate this, the NRAS are partnering the research, helping to ensure people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis are at the centre of the research process.

So far, NRAS have been instrumental in forming our Patient Research Partner Committee, recruiting 10 people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis who vary in terms of their age, sex, ethnicity, years since diagnosis, and severity of their Rheumatoid Arthritis. This helps to ensure a diverse range of voices are heard when key decisions about the study are being made.

Ailsa Bosworth (founder of NRAS and National Patient Champion) and Teresa Shakespeare-Smith (NRAS volunteer) are both co-researchers for MISSION-RA, and are playing a key role in delivery of the research alongside the wider Patient Research Partner Committee.Together, Ailsa and Teresa have recently been conducting interviews and focus groups with 30 people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the NRAS headquarters. The discussions that were had were extremely interesting, insightful and though provoking, and will be used to help co-design the MISSION-RA app.

How can I get involved? 

We are currently looking for adults living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, who can stand and walk either independently, or with an assistive device (e.g. a cane or walking stick). 

You can get involved in MISSION-RA by taking part in an interview, focus group, or our activity tracker study. Visit the MISSION-RA project website to find out more about how you can get involved. Details can also be found here on the NRAS website. Below, is also a video which outlines the details of the activity tracker study.