Pediatria II e Reumatologia (Genoa)

The Unit is an academic national referral tertiary centre for paediatric rheumatic diseases with 16 outpatient beds and 17 beds for inpatient care. It is a EULAR  centre  of  Excellence in Rheumatology (2008-2013).  The G. Gaslini Research Institute is the biggest paediatric hospital in Italy with all paediatric subspecialties represented.


Current fields of research

The research is organized in teams that have close interaction. Included in the Unit are the headquarters of PRINTO and the Laboratory  of immunology of rheumatic diseases.


Controlled clinical trials

The unit is the headquarter of the Paediatric Rheumatology International Trials Organisation (PRINTO) ( PRINTO, which was founded in 1996 by Alberto Martini e Nicolino Ruperto, is composed by academic, clinical centres engaged in the care of children with paediatric rheumatic disease. It is composed of more than 200 centres from >60 countries and represents the largest paediatric rheumatology network in the world. PRINTO’s main goal is to coordinate, foster and facilitate multi-centres, international controlled clinical trials. PRINTO has received 5 grants from the European Union and has published so far more than 70 papers. It has also developed a website dedicated to families ( available in more than 50 languages and  visited daily by more than 10,000 people.


Quantitative clinical assessment in pediatric rheumatic diseases

This area of research is aimed to develop and validate new clinical measures for the assessment of disease activity, functional ability, clinical damage, pain, and health-related quality of life in children with pediatric rheumatic diseases. Furthermore, a new approach in quantitative assessment is being followed by putting together different measures in a single multidimensional questionnaire, that is aimed to assess all domains of disease impact simultaneously. A broader aim of this research is to promote incorporation of quantitative measures of disease status in standard clinical care of children with pediatric rheumatic diseases.



The aim is to provide standardized methods to evaluate the role of conventional radiology, magnetic resonance and ultrasonography  in the evaluation of articular damage in juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The research of the unit has provided most of the available imaging scores to evaluate articular  damage in children.


Immunology of rheumatic diseases

The research is addressed at understanding the role of adaptive immunity in the pathogenesis of pediatric rheumatic diseases. Present research projects include the influence of innate immunity on the development of TH17 cells, the characterization of the immunological and functional phenotype of the different B cell populations and the role of TLRs and purinergic receptors during central and peripheral B cell development


Autoinflammatory diseases

Starting from January  2002, a National referral center for the diagnosis of autoinflammatory diseases has been established in collaboration with the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of  Gaslini Institute. Up to March 2009, we were able to collect specimens and clinical information from more than 900 patients with suspected autoinflammatory diseases of whom about 15% were positive for one of the known mutations. The Unit is the promoter of an European Union sponsored project (Eurofever) whose aim is to set up an international registry for autoinflammatory diseases.

Laboratory activities are mainly focused on the pathogenesis of CIAS1-related diseases and of TNF-receptor-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS).


Training of fellows in research

A dedicated fellowship training program to Italian and foreign physicians is in place. The program (from 3 months to 3 years) offer training in clinical management, clinical trials methodology, applied basic and intermediate biostatistics and epidemiology, and basic or clinical immunology.

Since 2002 the unit has hosted 70 doctors from 23 countries. Doctors have been supported by public bodies (European Union and other) or self financed. A total of 11 EULAR training fellowships  has been obtained since 2004.
Alberto Martini, MD, Prof, Director of the Unit,

Antonella Buoncompagni, MD, Senior Clinician,

Marco Gattorno, MD, Autoinflammatory sindrome,

Clara Malattia, MD, PhD, Imaging,

Paolo Picco, MD, Senior Clinician,

Angelo Ravelli, MD, Prof, Outcome measures,

Nicolino Ruperto, MD, Clinical trials, consensus methodology,

Stefania Viola, MD, MPH, Senior Clinician,


Contact information:

Director of the Research Center

Prof. Alberto Martini

Pediatria II, Reumatologia

Department of Pediatrics

University of Genoa

G. Gaslini Research Institute

Via Gaslini, 5

16147 Genoa


Tel: +39 010 56 36 386, +39 010 39 34 25

Fax: +39 010 39 33 24



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