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Childhood arthritis, called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) occurs in 1 in 1000 children and results in swelling, pain and restriction of various joints in the body.  As the exact mechanisms of JIA development are currently unknown, research into the immune cells within the blood and synovial fluid is being carried out, to see why the body's immune system is reacting to itself, leading to the arthritis.

There are good safe treatment options for childhood arthritis and lots of new drugs have become available recently. However medications sometimes work better for some children than others and we have now way of knowing which is the best medicine for an individual child. This led to the Childhood Arthritis Response to Medication study (CHARMS), which aims to identify markers that can help predict which child will respond to which medication the best. This approach is called stratified medicine. Building on this we have now launched the MRC- funded CLUSTER consortium, which combines multiple studies in JIA in the UK to accelerate our research in stratified medicine in JIA. In the future we hope that all children with arthritis will be given the best treatment for them the first time reducing the burden of this disease.



Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM) affects 2-4 children in every million and can be very serious, even fatal. This is a disease where the immune system attacks parts of the body. The causes of JDM are not known and research into such a rare disease is hard. With this in mind, the Juvenile Dermatomyositis Cohort Biomarker Study and Repository (UK & Ireland) was formed in 2000.


The cohort study is coordinated from the UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, and many hospitals across the country are involved in the work being done. The aim of the cohort study is to collate data, samples and long- term outcomes on as many patients with JDM as possible, and to carry out world class research to discover what causes the disease and find better treatments for patients. The data are used by researchers and doctors working on this very rare disease: you can see more about JDM and the research that is happening in the link below:

Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology 

The mission of the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology Versus Arthritis  is to improve the health and well-being of adolescents and young adults with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases through cutting-edge research. Most research focuses around adults and younger children, but adolescents often 'miss out'. The Centre aims to fill in this gap and through both education and undertaking high quality state-of-the art research to ensure that adolescents and young people with arthritis, lupus, myositis and other rheumatic conditions are receiving the best treatment and care.  


You can read more about our work on the Centre website see: The Centre has been successful in involving many young people in its activity and also has a thriving national network of researchers, doctors nurses and other professionals with expertise in adolescent arthritis and related conditions. This Network is called BANNAR, which you can see in the following link:

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