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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Trial results herald 'huge promise' for 5,000 children with blinding arthritic disease

Written by John von Radowitz

Thousands of British children with a blinding arthritic disease stand a chance of preserving their sight with a combination of drugs, trial results have shown.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) can lead to uveitis, an inflammatory eye condition that may have serious complications, including blindness.

Around 5,000 children in the UK affected by JIA are believed to be at risk of uveitis.

The new treatment involves a combination of two drugs, adalimumab and the older "standard" medicine methotrexate.

Three-quarters of 60 children with an average age of nine taking part in the trial experienced a significant reduction in eye inflammation, leading to the study being halted early.

Professor Ramanan from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and University of Bristol said: "Uveitis in children is an important cause of loss of vision.

"This study demonstrates the benefit of adalimumab in children with uveitis.

"This is the first randomised trial of its kind worldwide and the results will have a major impact in children with uveitis all around the world."

The findings are reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One third of the 15,000 children and teenagers in the UK with JIA are likely to go on to develop uveitis.

Stephen Simpson (pictured), director of research and programmes at Arthritis Research UK, said: "We are thrilled of the outcome of this trial and the huge promise it heralds for transforming the quality of life for the large numbers of children with JIA-associated uveitis.

"This trial is an impressive example of how investing in exceptional science can ultimately help change how treatment is delivered with direct and immediate benefit for patients."

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