Dr Benjamin Fisher MD(Res)

Image of Dr Benjamin Fisher

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Senior lecturer in Clinical Rheumatology

Contact details

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Centre for Translational Inflammation Research
Research Laboratories
New Queen Elizabeth Hospital
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

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


  • 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 Birmingham University as a Senior Clinical Lecturer in 2012.


A key focus of Dr 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. Dr 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. Dr 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


Fisher, B, Szanto, A, Ng, W-F, Bombardieri, M, Posch, M, Papas, A, Farag, A, Daikeler, T, Bannert, B, Kyburz, D, Kivitz, A, Carsons, S, Isenberg, D, Barone, F, Bowman, S, Espie, P, Floch, D, Dupuy, C, Ren, X, Faerber, P, Wright, A, Hockey, H-U, Rotte, M, Milojevic, J, Avrameas, A, Valentin, M-A, Rush, J & Gergely, P 2020, 'Assessment of the anti-CD40 antibody iscalimab in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group proof-of-concept study', Lancet Rheumatology. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2665-9913(19)30135-3

ESSENTIAL (EULAR Sjögren's Syndrome Study Group), HarmonicSS (H2020), Colafrancesco, S, Priori, R, Smith, C, Minniti, A, Iannizzotto, V, Pipi, E, Lucchesi, D, Pontarini, E, Nayar, S, Campos, J, Arienzo, F, Fusconi, M, Cerbelli, B, Giordano, C, Valesini, G, Bombardieri, M, Fisher, B & Barone, F 2020, 'CXCL13 as biomarker for histological involvement in Sjögren’s Syndrome', Rheumatology (Oxford, England), vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 165-170. https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kez255

Ramos-Casals, M, Brito-Zeron, P, Bombardieri, S, Bootsma, H, De Vita, S, Dorner, T, Fisher, B, Gottenberg, J-E, Hernandez-Molina, G, Kocher, A, Kostov, B, Kruize, A, Mandl, T, Ng, W-F, Retamozo, S, Seror, R, Shoenfeld, Y, Siso-Almirall, A, Tzioufas, A, Vitali, C, Bowman, S & Mariette, X 2020, 'EULAR recommendations for the management of Sjögren's syndrome with topical and systemic therapies', Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, vol. 79, no. 1, 216114, pp. 3-18. https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2019-216114, https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2019-216114

Jousse-Joulin, S, Gatineau, F, Baldini, C, Baer, A, Barone, F, Bootsma, H, Bowman, S, Brito-Zeron, P, Cornec, D, Dorner, T, de Vita, S, Fisher, B, Hammenfors, D, Jonsson, M, Mariette, X, Milic, V, Nakamura, H, Ng, W-F, Nowak, E, Ramos-Casals, M, Rasmussen, A, Seror, R, Shiboski, C, Nakamura, T, Vissink, A, Saraux, A & Devauchelle-Pensec, V 2019, 'Weight of salivary-gland ultrasonography compared to other items of the 2016 ACR/EULAR classification criteria for Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome', Journal of Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1111/joim.12992

Ramos-Casals, M & Fisher, B 2019, 'Sicca/Sjögren Syndrome triggered by PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: data from the International ImmunoCancer Registry (ICIR)', Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, vol. 37, no. 3, Supplement 118, pp. 0114-0122. <https://www.clinexprheumatol.org/abstract.asp?a=14290>

Nayar, S, Dias De Campos, J, Smith, C, Iannizzotto, V, Gardner, D, Mourcin, F, Roulois, D, Turner, J, Sylvestre, M, Asam, S, Glaysher, B, Bowman, SJ, Fearon, DT, Filer, A, Tarte, K, Luther, SA, Fisher, B, Buckley, C, Coles, MC & Barone, F 2019, 'Immunofibroblasts are pivotal drivers of tertiary lymphoid structure formation and local pathology', Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA), vol. 116, no. 27, 201905301, pp. 13490-13497. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1905301116

Nayar, S, Campos, J, Smith, CG, Iannizzotto, V, Gardner, DH, Colafrancesco, S, Pipi, E, Kollert, F, Hunter, KJ, Brewer, C, Buckley, CD, Bowman, SJ, Priori, R, Valesini, G, Juarez, M, Fahy, WA, Fisher, BA, Payne, A, Allen, RA & Barone, F 2019, 'Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase delta pathway: a novel therapeutic target for Sjögren's syndrome', Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, vol. 78, no. 2, pp. 249-260. https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2017-212619

Liaskou, E, Patel, S, Webb, G, DImakou, DB, Akiror, S, Krishna, M, Mells, GF, Jones, D, Bowman, SJ, Barone, F, Fisher, B & Hirschfield, GM 2018, 'Increased sensitivity of Treg cells from patients with PBC to low dose IL-12 drives their differentiation into IFN-γ secreting cells', Journal of Autoimmunity, vol. 94, pp. 143-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2018.07.020

RA-MAP Consortium, Fisher, B & Young, S 2018, 'Novel methodology to discern predictors of remission and patterns of disease activity over time using rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials data', RMD Open, vol. 4, no. 2, e000721. https://doi.org/10.1136/rmdopen-2018-000721

Ford, M, Sahbudin, I, Filer, A, Steven, N & Fisher, B 2018, 'High proportion of drug hypersensitivity reactions to sulfasalazine following its use in anti-PD-1 associated inflammatory arthritis', Rheumatology. https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/key234


Fisher, B 2020, 'Is it the end of the road for abatacept treatment in Sjögren's syndrome?', Lancet Rheumatology. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2665-9913(20)30002-3

Review article

Kollert, F & Fisher, B 2020, 'Equal rights in autoimmunity: is Sjögren`s syndrome ever ‘secondary’?', Rheumatology. https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keaa009

Pucino, V, Gardner, D & Fisher, B 2020, 'Rationale for CD40 pathway blockade in autoimmune rheumatic disorders', Lancet Rheumatology.

Miyamoto, S, Valim, V & Fisher, B 2019, 'Health-related Quality of Life and costs in Sjögren’s’ syndrome', Rheumatology (United Kingdom). https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/key370

Giacomelli, R, Afeltra, A, Alunno, A, Bartoloni-Bocci, E, Berardicurti, O, Bombardieri, M, Bortoluzzi, A, Caporali, R, Caso, F, Cervera, R, Sole Chimenti, M, Cipriani, P, Coloma, E, Conti, F, D'Angelo, S, De Vita, S, Di Bartolomeo, S, Distler, O, Doria, A, Feist, E, Fisher, B, Gerosa, M, Gilio, M, Guggino, G, Liakouli, V, Margiotta, DPE, Meroni, P, Moroncini, G, Perosa, F, Prete, M, Priori, R, Rebuffi, C, Ruscitti, P, Scarpa, R, Shonfeld, Y, Todoerti, M, Ursini, F, Valesini, G, Vettori, S, Vitali, C & Tzioufas, AG 2018, 'Guidelines for biomarkers in autoimmune rheumatic diseases - evidence based analysis.', Autoimmunity Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autrev.2018.08.003

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