Understanding Childhood Arthritis to Improve Treatment

A study aimed at improving the health of children with arthritis.

The Problem

 New medications called biologic therapies are now available to treat arthritis in children. While they are very effective, children often have to try many different ones before finding the medication that works for them, delaying effective treatment, and exposing kids to unnecessary risks of side effects. This is also inefficient use of health care dollars, spent on expensive medications that don’t work for that child

The Solution

By better understanding the biological characteristics of each child’s arthritis, we could help select the biologic therapy most likely to be effective for that child. Their arthritis would get better faster and they would avoid side-effects from medications that were not helpful. This would reduce health care costs and burden for patients and families.

What the Study will do

This study will develop tools, using various blood markers, genetics, and clinical information, to predict which drug a child is more likely to respond to, and when it can be stopped with little chances of the disease coming back. Children will get the right drug, at the right time, for the right duration.

The Research Study

In this unique Canadian-Dutch Research Network, scientists will develop tests that enable us to learn about the biology of each child’s arthritis and be able to predict when and which biologic therapy to start and when to stop it.

Our interdisciplinary research team will partner with patients, family members, clinicians and policy-makers. We expect the results will lead to improved care for children with arthritis as it will help ensure that we use biologic therapies in the safest, most beneficial and cost-effective way to improve the health and quality of life of affected children and their families.

We will share the information we gain about childhood arthritis by building an electronic health tool to share information with physicians, patients and their families.

Research Scientist

Susanne Benseler Pediatric Rheumatology, MD, PhD

Susanne Benseler Pediatric Rheumatology, MD, PhD

Research Scientist

Dr. Susanne (Susa) Benseler is a Pediatric Rheumatologist within the Department of Pediatrics at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine, as well as a clinical epidemiologist, and a clinician investigator.

Susa obtained her M.D from the University of Freiburg and Berlin, and obtained her PhDs in Immunology and Pediatrics from the University of Innsbruck and Freiburg. From there she went on to be a fellow in pediatric rheumatology at the University of Toronto and obtained her Masters in Clinical Epidemiology.

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