Our Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology
Arthritis Research UK has launched the world’s first centre dedicated to adolescent rheumatology. We are working with GOSH, UCL and UCLH to fund research into how and why arthritis affects young people.
What is it like to grow up with arthritis?
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common form of arthritis that affects young people. There are approximately 15,000 children and young people in the UK living with JIA. It causes disability, pain, fatigue and irreversible joint damage.
It can make the physical, psychological and sexual changes teenagers go through more difficult. Side-effects of drug treatments can be debilitating. Unsurprisingly, it can impact on every aspect of a teenager’s life from their social life to education and long term job prospects.
What will the Centre do?
Up till now adolescents with JIA and other rheumatic diseases have been a forgotten group when it comes to care and research into their conditions. There are a lot of unanswered questions about how and why arthritis affects teenagers.
- Clinical trials have overlooked teenagers, so treatments used to treat young people are based on research carried out on adults and children.
The lack of specialist adolescent rheumatologists means that young people are often treated by people who are not experts in their condition.
- We do not know enough about the long term effects of having JIA as a teenager.
- We do not know why arthritis can be more severe or why some forms are more likely to occur in adolescence.
By focusing attention on understanding why and how arthritis is different in adolescence, and what happens as young people with arthritis enter adult life, we hope that the Centre will dramatically improve treatment and care for young people.
For more information, visit the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology grant.