The Arthritis Society Launches Stop Childhood Arthritis with $5 million research commitment

May 8, 2017

Fundraising initiative will accelerate ground-breaking research into personalized medicine to improve outcomes for children living with arthritis

Toronto, ON — The Arthritis Society today launched Stop Childhood Arthritis with a commitment of at least $5 million over five years aimed at stopping childhood arthritis in its tracks by supporting advanced scientific research into personalized medicine and optimal outcomes for children and families living with arthritis.

Stop Childhood Arthritis represents the largest research commitment The Arthritis Society has ever made into childhood arthritis, and builds on our long-time work in this area,” said Janet Yale, President & CEO of The Arthritis Society. “Paediatric researchers are on the cusp of taking a quantum leap forward in being able to predict and treat childhood arthritis. Through this commitment The Arthritis Society will seek to accelerate these discoveries, so that no child has to live with unnecessary pain.”

Ground-breaking research in personalized medicine is already being conducted by members of the Canadian Alliance of Paediatric Rheumatology Investigator Network (CAPRI), which recently launched a CIHR-funded initiative – Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine in Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases (UCAN CAN-DU) – to expand work in this area. Jointly chaired by Dr. Rae Yeung of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Dr. Nico Wulffraat, UMC Utrecht, UCAN CAN-DU is a collaborative network that leverages the expertise of world-class paediatric rheumatologists and researchers across Canada and the Netherlands.

“This commitment from The Arthritis Society is a welcome contribution in support of the effort to combat childhood arthritis through genomic science,” said Dr. Yeung. “This research is making it possible to truly unlock the power of personalized medicine, improving outcomes by delivering the right treatment at the right time to the right child.”

“We have a wonderful opportunity to stop childhood arthritis,” explained Dr. Susa Benseler, Chair of CAPRI and Section Chief in Rheumatology at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. “Our international network of researchers has already identified an important molecule that will allow us to determine when a child should start or stop medication for systemic arthritis – an aggressive type of childhood arthritis – and to develop new treatments that disrupt the disease, completely changing the lives of affected children.”

The exciting promise of this research is to expand and repeat this success with other sub-types of childhood arthritis, leading to new, more widespread breakthroughs in care. The Arthritis Society’s funding commitment will help realize that promise by opening up additional research opportunities.

Funding will be administered through The Arthritis Society’s best-in-class, peer reviewed granting process that sees research awards given to the most scientifically meritorious applications put forward by Canadian researchers. Details around the first call for submissions will be released along with our core research competitions this fall, and the first grants will be awarded starting in 2018.

Stop Childhood Arthritis is just the latest commitment The Arthritis Society has delivered in support of childhood arthritis as a strategic priority. Thanks to the generosity of our donors we have come a long way in the past four years, creating a Childhood Advisory Council and funding important scientific research, maintaining an invaluable patient registry, establishing children’s summer camps in every region across the country, and developing specialized backpacks for school-aged children.

Donations to support Stop Childhood Arthritis can be made at arthritis.ca/StopChildhoodArthritis.

About The Arthritis Society
The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for over 65 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis, The Society is Canada's principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non‐government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing over $195 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada's Standards Program. For more information and to make a donation, visit arthritis.ca.

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For further information, please contact:

Douglas Emerson
Senior Manager, Communications and Health Promotion
The Arthritis Society
Office: 416.979.7228 x3348
Mobile: 647.706.0440
demerson@arthritis.ca