MSFHR/Cassie and Friends Society for Children with Juvenile Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases Scholar Award
Childhood rheumatic diseases such as juvenile arthritis, lupus, vasculitis and fever syndromes are the most common childhood chronic illnesses. In Canada, the diseases affect approximately 10,000 children and youth. The affected children have recurrent attacks of inflammation in joints, muscles, and critical organs due to inappropriate activation of blood cells and molecules in the immune system. Some rheumatic diseases are life- or organ-threatening and all have significant potential for lifelong poor health and disability. There are no cures and few treatments that are specific and safe for a growing child.
This project, CALOR (Cooling Auto-inflammation with CLinically Oriented Research), aims to develop ways to better measure inflammation in these diseases, especially low levels of inflammation that, if present, may justify continuation or re-starting of therapy to stave off an inflammatory attack. The project uses advanced informatics and a systems biology approach, including novel cellular phenotyping of first responder cells of the innate immune system, to find markers of inflammation.
Project outcomes may include sensitive measures of subclinical inflammation that better direct treatment decisions for children with a rheumatic disease. Central to the approach is early engagement of clinicians and patients to establish research priorities, to connect affected families with each other, and ultimately to identify ways to support BC family doctors so that ongoing patient care can be close to home. The CALOR project is founded on a recently developed Canadian Auto-inflammation Disease Registry and a nucleus of invested clinicians, researchers and families at BC’s Children’s Hospital.