A new approach

Thus, children with JIA undergo treatment that is not specifically developed for them and face an uncertain and unsafe future. Moreover, despite increased efforts and investments into R&D, the output of new anti-inflammatory, disease-modifying medicines is disappointing.


Altogether, this stresses the urgent need for a new approach in the care of children with JIA. In order to make real progress in the development of new drugs, diagnostic or prognostic markers and/or therapies for JIA we need to:

  • Understand the mechanisms – ranging from genotype to phenotype – that determine the balance between inflammation (disease) and tolerance (health) and drive inflammation in JIA
  • Develop validated biomarkers that can predict disease outcome and response to therapy in individual patients;
  • To achieve these high reaching goals it is crucial to integrate basic and clinical patient research develop in a fully translational, bench to bedside and vice versa approach. Given the rarity and disease heterogeneity of JIA and the inherit complexity of human translational research; this requires an innovative, international approach, aimed at translation of mechanistic studies into tangible products that may truly benefit the health of patients. The proof of principle of this type approach is recently shown in a multicenter international collaborative study that determined potential biomarkers for MTX treatment.
  • The international consortium UCAN was founded to find solutions by building a translational network of clinical and basis researchers in pediatric rheumatology.