UCL News


#WorldArthritisDay £2 million funding boost for the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology

12 October 2017

The Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology at UCL, UCLH and GOSH, the only research centre in the world dedicated to understanding how rheumatic conditions like arthritis affect teenagers, has received a £2 million funding boost to support its pioneering research over the next five years.


The virtual centre, which was established in 2012 is a collaboration between Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the adolescent unit at University College London Hospital (UCLH) and University College London (UCL) - including the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOS ICH) and the UCL Division of Medicine. It brings together doctors, nurses and researchers aiming to improve the health of teenagers and young adults with rheumatic diseases such as arthritis (also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)), lupus, and myositis.

The centre will be funded by Arthritis Research UK with partnership funding from Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. The centre's work is also underpinned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centres at GOSH and UCLH.

Although often associated with adults, there are approximately 15,000 children and young people in the UK living with arthritis - a debilitating condition causing pain, fatigue and damage to joints. While most arthritis research is focussed around adults and younger children, the work of the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology aims to understand why certain types of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions affect teenagers more severely and how puberty affects the condition. Researchers at the centre are carrying out a range of projects: from a multicentre UK-wide trial of 1250 young people exploring why people respond differently to standard treatments for JIA, to developing the first smartphone app to help young people with rheumatic conditions manage their symptoms.

Professor Lucy Wedderburn, who is Director of the centre and Consultant and Professor of Paediatric Rheumatology at GOSH and the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOS ICH) said, "The successful new award to the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology will allow us to build on the successes of the last five years and further improve the treatment and care of teenagers living with these painful and distressing conditions. The Centre works closely with the patient community to ensure that the research we are doing matters to them. This award is testament to their involvement as well as the hard work and dedication of the Centre's researchers".

UCL's Vice Provost (Health) Professor David Lomas said, "I'm delighted that the Centre has been awarded further funding which reflects the world class work they have led to date, and the ongoing need for more research into how rheumatic conditions specifically affect teenagers. By bringing together experts from across UCL, GOSH and UCLH, the Centre will continue to improve the lives of young people with rheumatic diseases in the UK and across the world.

Dr Natalie Carter, Head of research & evaluation at Arthritis Research UK, said: "We are incredibly pleased to award new funding to the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology. Research in this area is incredibly important as arthritis has a huge impact not just on teenagers living with the condition but also their friends and family. We look forward to seeing what research the centre achieves in the next five years, so that we can both work together in our aim to ensure that teenagers with arthritis are not held back on living their lives to the fullest."

Learn more about the centre's work here

The Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology is a collaboration between UCL (GOS ICH, Rayne Institute, UCL Centre for Rheumatology), UCLH and GOSH.