8th April 2011
Doctors are planning a major piece of healthcare research which they are hoping could lead to the prevention of a childhood eye condition which can lead to blindness.
Funding has already been granted for the study, which will see 150 children with childhood arthritis taking place in trials.
The target group will be those suffering from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) who are at risk of uveitis, an inflammatory eye condition which can cause blindness on severe cases.
Researchers plan to test the effectiveness of a powerful drug called adalimumb, which is currently licensed for use in adults with rheumatoid arthritis, and children with JIA who are over the age of 13, Healthcare Today reported.
If the drug proves to be successful in reducing uveitis, doctors hope it can be rolled out for use in children of all ages who suffer from arthritis.
Dr Athimalaipet Ramanan, lead consultant in paediatric rheumatology at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, and lead researcher, said: "If this trial shows that adalimumb is effective, it would be great news for children with JIA whose eyes are affected."
According to information from arthritis care, more than 12,000 children in the UK suffer from JIA. Oligoarticular arthritis in particular is the version of the condition which leads to eye problems.
By Jeanette Royston
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