Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis in the Era of International Cooperation

Yosef Uziel


Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Improved understanding of its pathogenesis has led to international cooperation in clinical studies. Multicenter, international collaborations and research facilitate rapid enrollment of enough patients to enable a variety of studies, including those of epidemiology, diagnostic and classification criteria, genetic disease predisposition, pathogenesis, outcomes, and treatment protocols. In the last 20 years, the vision of the Pediatric Rheumatology International Trial Organization (PRINTO) has become a reality of worldwide collaboration in pediatric rheumatology research, including North American and European research groups. Major advances have been made in treating systemic JIA and its main complication, macrophage-activating syndrome (MAS). Single Hub and Access Point to Pediatric Rheumatology in Europe (SHARE) is a project of the European Society of Pediatric Rheumatology with the goal of improving clinical care. Based on evidence in the scientific literature, position papers regarding optimal clinical approaches and care have been published. Formal, validated assessment tools to evaluate response to treatment have been developed. Recommendations have been established to encourage international research collaborations, especially in light of major advances achieved in the genetics of pediatric rheumatologic diseases and the need to share biological samples among different countries and continents. Every participating country has disease information available for patients and families. Additionally, educational programs and updated syllabi for pediatric rheumatology have been written to promote similar, high-level academic training in different countries. These efforts have resulted in significant improvements in treatment and in patient prognosis. However, improved cooperation is needed to enhance research with biological and genetic samples. The Israeli Research Group for Pediatric Rheumatology is very active and has made significant contributions to the field.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2017;8(1):e0003