Professor Benjamin Fisher MD(Res)

Image of Dr Benjamin Fisher

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Professor in Rheumatology

Contact details

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
University of Birmingham Research Labs
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Mindelsohn Way
B15 2WB

Ben Fisher is a Professor in Clinical Rheumatology. He has published research papers on Sjögren’s syndrome and inflammatory arthritis and has participated in many national and international collaborations.

Ben is part of a team who designed the recent COVID-19 drugs trial ‘CATALYST’, which rapidly tests new therapies for patients hospitalised due to COVID-19. It is hoped that by using drugs that target the most serious symptoms of the virus, the severity of the disease could be reduced leading to a reduction in the number of patients needing to be admitted to intensive care and ultimately, a reduction in virus related deaths.

Ben is also an integral part of the NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre.


  • MD(Res) Medicine 2011
  • MRCP 2002
  • MBBS 1999
  • BSc (Hons) Immunology 1996


Benjamin Fisher studied medicine at the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals in London, obtaining a BSc (Hons) in Immunology in 1996 and his MBBS in 1999. He trained as a Rheumatologist in London with academic studies at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Imperial College London. Here he worked in the clinical trials unit and completed an MD(Res) on antibodies to citrullinated alpha enolase peptides in rheumatoid arthritis. Following this he was appointed as a Walport Clinical Lecturer at Imperial College. He joined the University of Birmingham as a Senior Clinical Lecturer in 2012.


A key focus of Professor Fisher's current work is on clinical trials in inflammatory disease, especially Sjögren’s syndrome. Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition resulting in dryness of the eyes and mouth, alongside a range of other complications that occur in a proportion of patients. Currently there are no existing disease-modifying therapies. However Ben's team have an active clinical trials programme and he presented data from a commercially sponsored trial of a novel agent blocking CD40 at the American College of Rheumatology annual congress in 2017. This was the first trial, to their knowledge, to show positive effects prospectively on a validated measure of systemic activity in a double-blind randomised controlled trial. Professor Fisher is chief investigator for the Optimising Assessments in Sjögren’s Syndrome (OASIS) cohort that has a number of objectives including to identify biomarkers of disease activity from blood, saliva and tissue, that may help inform future clinical trial design. He is a deputy clinical director at the Cancer Research UK clinical trials unit Birmingham, leading the Inflammation and Advanced Cellular Therapies (I-ACT) team.

Ben also has a longstanding interest in risk factors for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome, including autoantibodies and diet.

Lay summary

Sjögren’s syndrome is a disease where the body’s immune system causes inflammation in the glands that produce tears and saliva causing dryness. It is associated with profound fatigue in a large number of patients and together, these symptoms cause a large reduction in health-related quality of life. In a proportion of patients the disease also affects other body systems such as the joints and the lungs. There are no therapies proven to modify the underlying immune disease, but they have an active programme to study new drugs from industrial partners, including those blocking CD40 which in an early trial has shown some promise. CD40 has a role in how cells of the immune system activate each other. Professor Fisher also has an interest in how to measure how active a patient’s disease is, and to understand risk factors for disease such as diet; i.e. what makes a person more likely to develop Sjögren’s syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis, when others do not.


Recent publications


Worth, C, Al-Mossawi, H, MacDonald, J, Fisher, B, Chan, A, Sengupta, R, Packham, J, Gaffney, K, Gullick, N, Cook, J, Corn, T, Teh, J, Machado, P, Taylor, P & Bowness, P 2024, 'A first in disease phase 2, randomised, controlled trial of Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating factor neutralisation for Axial Spondyloarthritis (NAMASTE study)', The Lancet Rheumatology.

Cope, A, Jasenecova, M, Vasconcelos, J, Filer, A, Raza, K, Qureshi, S, D'Agostino, M-A, McInnes, IB, Isaacs, J, Pratt, AG, Fisher, B, Buckley, CD, Emery, P, Ho, P, Buch, MH, Ciurtin, C, van Schaardenburg, D, Huizinga, TWJ, Toes, R, Georgiou, E, Kelly, J, Murphy, CL, Prevost, AT & APIPPRA Study Investigators 2024, 'Abatacept in individuals at high risk of rheumatoid arthritis (APIPPRA): a randomised, double-blind, multicentre, parallel, placebo-controlled, phase 2b clinical trial', The Lancet.

Price, EJ, Benjamin, S, Bombardieri, M, Bowman, S, Carty, S, Ciurtin, C, Crampton, B, Dawson, A, Fisher, BA, Giles, I, Glennon, P, Gupta, M, Hackett, KL, Larkin, G, Ng, W-F, Ramanan, AV, Rassam, S, Rauz, S, Smith, G, Sutcliffe, N, Tappuni, A & Walsh, SB 2024, 'British Society for Rheumatology guideline on management of adult and juvenile onset Sjögren disease', Rheumatology (Oxford, England).

Christ, L, Kissling, S, Finckh, A, Fisher, B, Adler, S, Maurer, B, Möller, B & Kollert, F 2024, 'Concomitant Sjögren’s disease as a biomarker for treatment effectiveness in rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Swiss clinical quality management cohort', Arthritis Research & Therapy, vol. 26, no. 1, 68.

Berry, JS, Tarn, J, Casement, J, Duret, P-M, Scott, L, Wood, K, Johnsen, S-J, Nordmark, G, Devauchelle-Pensec, V, Seror, R, Fisher, B, Barone, F, Bowman, SJ, Bombardieri, M, Lendrem, D, Felten, R, Gottenberg, J-E & Ng, W-F 2024, 'Examining the biological pathways underlying clinical heterogeneity in Sjogren's syndrome: Proteomic and network analysis', Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 88-95.

Quéré, B, Saraux, A, Carvajal-Alegria, G, Guellec, D, Mouterde, G, Lamotte, C, Hammenfors, D, Jonsson, M, Choi, S-E, Hong-Ki, M, Stel, A, Fisher, BA, Maybury, M, Hofauer, B, Ferro, F, Milic, V, Direnzo, D, Devauchelle-Pensec, V & Jousse-Joulin, S 2024, 'Reliability Exercise of Ultrasound Salivary Glands in Sjögren's Disease: An International Web Training Initiative', Rheumatology and Therapy.

Gordon, RA, Nguyen, Y, Foulquier, N, Beydon, M, Gheita, TA, Hajji, R, Sahbudin, I, Hoi, A, Ng, W-F, Mendonça, JA, Wallace, DJ, Shea, B, Bruyn, GAW, Goodman, SM, Fisher, BA, Baldini, C, Torralba, KD, Bootsma, H, Akpek, EK, Karakus, S, Baer, AN, Chakravarty, SD, Terslev, L, D'agostino, M-A, Mariette, X, Direnzo, D, Rasmussen, A, Papas, A, Montoya, C, Arends, S, Md Yusof, MY, Pintilie, I, Warner, BM, Hammitt, KM, Strand, V, Bouillot, C, Tugwell, P, Inanc, N, Andreu, JL, Wahren-Herlenius, M, Devauchelle-Pensec, V, Shiboski, CH, Benyoussef, A, Masli, S, Lee, AYS, Cornec, D, Bowman, S, Rischmueller, M, Mccoy, SS & Seror, R 2024, 'The Sjögren's Working Group: The 2023 OMERACT meeting and provisional domain generation', Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism, vol. 65, 152378.

Bentley, D, Fisher, B, Barone, F, Kolb, F & Attley, G 2023, 'A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study on the effects of a cathepsin S inhibitor in primary Sjögren’s syndrome', Rheumatology (Oxford).

Hammond, S, Olsson-Brown, A, Grice, S, Gibson, A, Gardner, J, Castrejón-Flores, JL, Jolly, C, Fisher, BA, Steven, N, Betts, C, Pirmohamed, M, Meng, X & Naisbitt, DJ 2022, 'Checkpoint Inhibition Reduces the Threshold for Drug-Specific T-Cell Priming and Increases the Incidence of Sulfasalazine Hypersensitivity', Toxicological Sciences, vol. 186, no. 1, pp. 58-69.

Korsunsky, I, Wei, K, Pohin, M, Kim, EY, Barone, F, Major, T, Taylor, E, Ravindran, R, Kemble, S, Watts, GFM, Jonsson, AH, Jeong, Y, Athar, H, Windell, D, Kang, JB, Friedrich, M, Turner, J, Nayar, S, Fisher, BA, Raza, K, Marshall, JL, Croft, AP, Tamura, T, Sholl, LM, Vivero, M, Rosas, IO, Bowman, SJ, Coles, M, Frei, AP, Lassen, K, Filer, A, Powrie, F, Buckley, CD, Brenner, MB & Raychaudhuri, S 2022, 'Cross-tissue, single-cell stromal atlas identifies shared pathological fibroblast phenotypes in four chronic inflammatory diseases', Med, vol. 3, no. 7, pp. 481-518.

Seror, R, Baron, G, Camus, M, Cornec, D, Perrodeau, E, Bowman, SJ, Bombardieri, M, Bootsma, H, Gottenberg, JE, Fisher, B, Hueber, W, van Roon, JA, Devauchelle-Pensec, V, Gergely, P, Mariette, X & Porcher, R 2022, 'Development and preliminary validation of the Sjögren's Tool for Assessing Response (STAR): a consensual composite score for assessing treatment effect in primary Sjögren's syndrome', Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, vol. 81, no. 7, pp. 979-989.

Nayar, S, Pontarini, E, Campos, J, Berardicurti, O, Smith, CG, Asam, S, Gardner, DH, Colafrancesco, S, Lucchesi, D, Coleby, R, Chung, M-M, Iannizzotto, V, Hunter, K, Bowman, SJ, Carlesso, G, Herbst, R, McGettrick, HM, Browning, J, Buckley, CD, Fisher, BA, Bombardieri, M & Barone, F 2022, 'Immunofibroblasts regulate LTα3 expression in tertiary lymphoid structures in a pathway dependent on ICOS/ICOSL interaction', Communications Biology, vol. 5, no. 1, 413.

RA-MAP Consortium, Cooles, FAH, Tarn, J, Lendrem, DW, Naamane, N, Lin, CM, Millar, B, Maney, NJ, Anderson, AE, Thalayasingam, N, Diboll, J, Bondet, V, Duffy, D, Barnes, MR, Smith, GR, Ng, S, Watson, D, Henkin, R, Cope, AP, Reynard, LN, Pratt, AG & Isaacs, JD 2022, 'Interferon-α-mediated therapeutic resistance in early rheumatoid arthritis implicates epigenetic reprogramming', Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, vol. 81, no. 9, pp. 1214-1223.


Kollert, F, Pucino, V, Nayar, S, Turner, J, Rauz, S, Richards, A, Higham, J, Poveda Gallego, A, Brown, R, Bates, T, Bowman, S, Barone, F & Fisher, B 2022, 'History of tonsillectomy is associated with glandular inflammation in Sjögren's disease', Rheumatology (Oxford), vol. 61, no. 7, keac096, pp. E168-E170.

Review article

Tomizawa, T, Cox, T, Kollert, F, Bowman, SJ, Itu, H, Matsuda, S & Fisher, BA 2023, 'The impact of concomitant Sjogren’s disease on rheumatoid arthritis disease activity: a systematic review and meta-analysis', Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, vol. 41, no. 12, pp. 2484-2492.

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