Adult drug for young arthritis sufferers21st June 2010
Researchers have suggested that a drug used to treat arthritis in adults could have a profound effect on children suffering from the disease.
It is thought around 2,500 children suffer from systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which is also called Still's disease.
The disease causes swollen joints, pain, fever, weight loss and can damage internal organs such as the heart and liver.
Children usually begin to exhibit symptoms of the disease by the time they are two years old.
The researchers gave 112 children with the disease either the drug tocilizumab or an placebo.
They found that over one third of the children had a 90% improvement in symptoms after 12 weeks, with around 85% seeing at least an improvement of 30%.
The trial involved 20 countries, including the UK.
Rheumatology expert Professor Patricia Woo, from Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London, who headed one of the UK branches of the study, said: "This is a major advance for these young people."
"Children with systemic JIA remain a group with a high unmet medical need, and those at the more severe end of the disease spectrum have significant morbidity (illness) throughout their lives as well as a higher rate of mortality than other types of JIA," she added.
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Title: Adult drug for young arthritis sufferers
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 15229
Date Added: 21st Jun 2010