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The Arthritis Research UK Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology

Award Details

  • Principal Investigator
    Professor Lucy Wedderburn
  • Type of grant
    Special Strategic Award
  • Amount Awarded
  • Institute
    University College London
  • Location
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • Grant reference number
  • Condition
    Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Myositis, Systemic lupus erythematosis

This centre has now been renewed for a second term, find out more here.

This grant is jointly funded with Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity (GOSHCC).

Arthritis Research UK is contributing £1,150,000 and GOSHCC £261,240, with extra support from the host institutes.

What are the aims of this research?

Adolescence (10-19 years) represents an important time in a person’s life, with rapid change in physical, emotional, educational, and social development. Arthritis (which affects 1 in 1000 children) and other rheumatic diseases such as dermatomyositis and lupus can be severely disabling and occasionally life-threatening. Some of these illnesses even start most frequently during adolescence. The Centre’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of adolescents with arthritis by undertaking cutting edge research and ensuring that patients have the opportunity to be part of research and clinical trials. The Centre will also provide education, training and a national network to increase the number of experts in the area. The centre will address a number of key research questions, including:

1)      What are the best treatments for adolescents with arthritis or other rheumatic diseases such as lupus?

2)      Why do many of these conditions develop during adolescents?

3)      What are the effects of having long-standing arthritis?

4)      What happens to children and teenagers who develop arthritis and rheumatic diseases when they grow up?

Why is this research important?

Having arthritis during adolescence is not easy and it is vital that teenagers with healthcare problems are given the best treatment to address their particular needs. However, this is challenging. Children’s care (and research) tends to focus on children, and adults’ on adults, so adolescents become the ‘forgotten’ group. Access to clinical trials is also more difficult during this period of transition, and as a result there is a lack of research in this area and young people miss out on potential new treatments. There are numerous scientific research centres for Paediatric Rheumatology and Adult Rheumatology, but none for Adolescent Rheumatology. Thus this centre, which will focus on scientific research as well as addressing the broad needs of adolescents with arthritis, is the first of its kind in the world.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Understanding how and why arthritis develops and progresses in this age group should lead to the discovery of new or better treatments as well as methods to prevent complications that adolescents with arthritis develop in later life (such as heart disease) and tests that may predict how the disease will progress. The Centre will integrate excellent care with excellent research as teenagers travel through the journey from paediatric (child) to adult care helping to provide better long-term outcome for these patients. The Centre will also help raise awareness of the health needs of adolescents with rheumatic disease and ensure that teenagers have uninterrupted and full access to clinical trials, giving them access to the latest treatments.

For more information visit the centre's website.


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