Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre for Children

Disease - Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, osteoporosis, systemic lupus erythematosis

Lead applicant - Professor Michael Beresford

Organisation - University of Liverpool

Type of grant - Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £600,000

Start date - 1 March 2021

Reference - 22663

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Not enough is known about how new drugs for the treatment of arthritis might affect growth and development in children, so their use in this group of patients has been restricted. Children often need to take drugs for a long time, so more research into their long-term side-effects is also needed. This grant will fund the development of a specialist centre which will bring together people with different expertise to develop new drugs which are safe and effective for children. In addition the centre will be provide state-of-the-art training for doctors, nurses and scientists in developing new treatments, with children and families actively involved in the process.

Why is this research important?

Children and young people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders can suffer severe, painful, life-long disease. These diseases impact enormously on the health, education, well-being and quality of life throughout their lives. Children and their families have identified development of safe, effective drugs as a very high priority.

The centre will work very closely with the UK's paediatric rheumatology clinical studies group, prioritizing areas where new, safer treatments are needed. These include better treatments for childhood lupus and uveitis. The research which this centre will perform is vital, but it is also complex and difficult. This work can best be done by bringing together researchers from a wide range of backgrounds into a specialist centre of expertise.

How will the findings benefit patients?

A specialist centre for children with arthritis and musculoskeletal disease will be of direct benefit to current patients. In addition, the development of new treatments and better assessments of whether treatments are effective will benefit children who develop these conditions in the future.