Childhood arthritis is devastating and one of the most common chronic diseases affecting Canadian children. Children suffer from daily pain and stiffness, severely impacting their quality of life and participation. Uncontrolled joint inflammation results in irreversible damage with growth abnormalities and deformities requiring early joint replacement.
Although expensive ($15,000–$416,000/year per child), powerful new biologic therapies targeting inflammatory mediators dramatically improve outcomes. In Canada, biologics can only be accessed after failing traditional therapies, resulting in critical delays in accessing effective drugs, exposure to unnecessary risks, and millions wasted in ineffective treatments. Recent data show that early short-term biologic therapy, in children with the most severe subtype of arthritis, results in rapid and long-lasting disease control after only three months of treatment, preventing destructive arthritis, altering biology and possibly “curing” arthritis.
Our project will identify the children who will benefit from this paradigm-changing approach.