Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology Versus Arthritis

Disease - Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosis, myositis

Lead applicant - Professor Lucy Wedderburn

Organisation - University College London

Type of grant - Centre of Excellence Full

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £2,113,790.80

Start date - 1 April 2018

Reference - 21593

Public Summary

This award is jointly funded with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSHCC). Versus Arthritis is contributing £1,863,790.81 and GOSHCC £250,000 - with extra support from the host institutes.

What are the aims of this research?

The Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology Versus Arthritis aims to improve the health and wellbeing of adolescents, with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, by undertaking cutting edge research and ensuring that adolescent patients can be part of research and clinical trials. The centre originally launched in 2012 and has been renewed for a further 5 years. In partnership with young people, the centre has defined specific goals for the next 5 years to drive forward research in four key areas, and build on the work already achieved by the centre:

  1. Enhance understanding of the science of adolescent-related arthritis, to develop better treatments and improve clinical care
  2. Contribute to understanding of the adolescent immune system in relation to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and lupus
  3. Improve health care provision and enable self-management in young people with arthritis
  4. Support continued growth of the Barbara Ansell National Network for Adolescent Rheumatology (BANNAR), a network of interested and committed professionals working in adolescent and young adult rheumatology in the UK.

Why is this research important?

Having arthritis during adolescence is not easy and it is vital that teenagers with healthcare problems are given the best treatment to address their needs. The centre aims to bring together experts from different fields, including; immunology, hormone biology, psychology, pain and computer science, and enabled establishment of a National Network, all working towards the common goal to support adolescents with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions. In parallel, the centre will secure the next generation of researchers in this growing area, to ensure sustainability of the centre, while enhancing patient involvement at every level of centre research activity. So far, patient involvement has driven the centre’s research agenda, informing them on research priorities and study design, facilitated recruitment of research participants and informed dissemination strategies about adolescent arthritis and related conditions.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Understanding how and why arthritis develops and progresses in this age group should lead to the discovery of new or better treatments as well as methods to prevent complications that adolescents with arthritis develop in later life (such as heart disease) and tests that may predict how the disease will progress. The centre will integrate excellent care with excellent research as teenagers travel through the journey from paediatric (child) to adult care helping to provide better long-term outcome for these patients. The centre will also help raise awareness of the health needs of adolescents with rheumatic disease and ensure that teenagers have uninterrupted and full access to clinical trials, giving them access to the latest treatments.

For more information, visit the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology. Additionally, for further information on BANNAR, please visit Barbara Ansell National Network for Adolescent Rheumatology.