Findings from a new study conducted by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) have shed new light on the possible causes of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) and may point to new avenues for treatment of the condition. JIA is the most common type of childhood arthritis, affecting approximately 300,000 patients in the US, and triggering symptoms including chronic joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Treatment with NSAIDs and biologic response modifiers are used to control these, but do not offer a cure. The new study suggests that the protein transthyretin (TTR) may be an “autoantigen,” triggering an autoimmune reaction in the joints of JIA patients. The findings were published last week in the journal JCI Insight.
In the study, researchers looked for abnormal accumulations of proteins in the synovial fluid and blood of patients with JIA. They found a significant increase in TTR in 50 patients at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, but not in any of the 26 control children who did not have JIA. Lead author Laura Santambrogio, MD, PhD, professor of pathology, of microbiology & immunology, and of orthopaedic surgery at Einstein, characterized the findings as encouraging news for JIA sufferers. She further stated that JIA patients could benefit from a new medication that targets TTR, called tafamidis. Currently approved in Europe and Japan for the treatment of familial amyloidosis, which is also linked to TTR, tafamidis is now undergoing phase III trials in the US.
Read a news story about the findings here.
The journal article may be read here.