For the next five days, more than 430 people who aim to improve the lives of children with arthritis — including physicians, nurses, parents, patients, and representatives from advocacy organizations — will gather in Toronto for Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance’s (CARRA) annual meeting, marking the largest gathering in the meeting’s 12-year history. Their common goal? To advance research projects that will uncover the answers to specific questions about rheumatic diseases in children.
Supported financially by the Arthritis Foundation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (Sobi), attendees at CARRA’s annual working meeting collaborate to explore particular diseases and focus on agendas for research. Through this meeting, CARRA members work together on scientific and clinical matters to prioritize research that aims to improve results in in pediatric diseases in children.
“This conference joins pediatric scientists, rheumatologists, nurses, coordinators of research studies with patients and their families to develop plans for conducting research, gathering data, evaluating treatment and improving outcomes for children with rheumatic diseases,” explains Laura Schanberg, MD, CARRA president and a professor at Duke University.
The meeting includes posters featuring the work of more than 150 investigators, as well as speakers who specialize in different aspects of research that focus on pediatric rheumatic diseases. The conference also hosts meetings for investigators early in their career, research fellows, patients, parents, STOP-JIA (NCT02593006) and CARRA Registry (NCT02418442) study coordinators and investigators.
“We are pleased with the growing involvement of parents and patients because it indicates the expansion of their role in developing and conducting research,” Dr. Schanberg says. “Additionally, we’re excited to involve pediatric residents who are considering rheumatology as a clinical subspecialty.”
In a five-year partnership with CARRA, the Arthritis Foundation has committed more than $23.5 million to support the CARRA Registry, which is a database of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and other pediatric rheumatic diseases. Funds from the Arthritis Foundation also will support translational research and small investigational grants that aim for improvements in outcomes for children with rheumatic disease.