Identifying new treatments and understanding the long-term effects of enthesitis related arthritis

Disease - Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis

Lead applicant - Dr Corinne Fisher

Organisation - University College London

Type of grant - Clinical Research Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £292,278

Start date - 1 October 2014

Reference - 20762

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This research project aims to determine whether ankylosing spondylitis and enthesitis related juvenile idiopathic arthritis with spinal arthritis (ERASA) have the same cause and long term effects.

Why is this research important?

Around 60% of children with a type of juvenile idiopathic arthritis called enthesitis related arthritis (ERA) develop arthritis of the spine, a condition referred to as ERA with spinal arthritis (ERASA). This condition bears many similarities with ankylosing spondylitis, and a family history of ankylosing spondylitis is known to increase the risk of a child developing ERA. There is little research into ERA or ERASA so at present it is not possible to predict which children will develop ERASA, or how the conditions impact their life long-term. If ankylosing spondylitis is found to share common causes with these conditions, then treatments currently used for ankylosing spondylitis may be a promising new treatments for children affected by ERA or ERASA.

Firstly, white blood cells in blood samples obtained from patients with each of the three conditions as well as healthy volunteers will be assessed to determine whether the underlying cause of inflammation is the same in ankylosing spondylitis, ERA and ERASA. Secondly, information will be collected from patients with to understand which treatments are successful and the impact of the disease on their lives.

How will the findings benefit patients?

ERA and ERASA have a negative impact on young people's quality of life: they restrict movement and affect their education, growth and development. The results of this research will help inform children about the likely effect of ERA and ERASA in the long-term and may lead to trials of new treatments.