Analysing immune cells of the joint to identify children who are more likely to develop severe JIA

Disease - Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Lead applicant - Dr Adam Croft

Organisation - University of Birmingham

Type of grant - Accelerating new treatments 2020

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £299,114.50

Start date - 1 October 2021

Reference - 22710

What are the aims of this research?

This research aims to investigate if differences in the cells within inflamed joint tissues at the time of diagnosis can be analysed to predict the development and severity of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), and guide treatment decisions.

Why is this research important?

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis affects the joints, muscles and ligaments in children causing pain and swelling. If not properly treated, it can cause pain, fatigue, thinning of bones and a reduction in social activities.

Most children diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis have only a few joints effected by the condition which can be managed by medication. However, some children can quickly develop a severe form of arthritis that spreads to other joints. Often families have to wait after starting a new treatment to see if it is effective or there are any side effects. The delay in finding an effective treatment can cause joint damage and disability as well as disruption education and family life.

This study aims to understand what is happening in the inflamed joints and which children are at risk of developing a more severe form of arthritis, allowing for treatments to be better targeted to prevent the condition from worsening.

How will these findings benefit patients?

This study is the first of its kind, proposing using tissue biopsies to diagnose JIA and help select the right treatment. The current method of trial and error to find the right treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis is difficult for children and their families. If this study is successful, it can provide information that can be used to target the right drug for the right child at an early stage of their arthritis.