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ACR Pediatric 30: New Tool in Fight Against Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

  [ 66 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • July 19, 2002

The American College of Rheumatology recently approved criteria, known as the ACR Pediatric 30, expected to provide much-needed guidance and clarity for rheumatologists and other physicians who treat children living with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).

Standardized criteria by which improvement can be measured are an effective tool in managing many diseases, but until now, they have not existed for JRA. The ACR Pediatric 30 will be the standard by which improvement is gauged by clinicians who treat JRA patients.

Over 30,000 children in the U.S. have JRA, which is a chronic condition that begins before the age of 16. The three major types of JRA are: pauciarticular, which affects 4 or fewer joints; polyarticular, which affects 5 or more joints; and systemic onset JRA, which affects at least one joint but causes inflammation of internal organs as well.

Because treatment approaches vary for JRA, the ACR Pediatric 30 was developed over 3 years through the collaboration of physicians in 14 countries, and is inclusive of diverse treatment styles.

Dr. Edward Giannini, the ACR member who is lead author on the criteria, notes: "What makes these so useful is that any physician can measure these criteria in the office, and they can be used as a practice tool to gauge patient response."

Dr. Giannini also notes that the adoption of the criteria by the ACR will be useful for clinical trials as drug companies comply with the FDA's "pediatric rule" of April 1999. The rule requires that all drugs approved for use in adults for diseases that also occur in children must be studied in children. Standardized improvement criteria help to ensure an effective clinical trial, and allow researchers to compare data from trials of varied treatments in a reliable way.

The ACR is the professional organization for rheumatologists and health professionals who share a dedication to healing, preventing disability and curing arthritis and related rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. The ACR's 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, to be held October 25 - 29 in New Orleans, will feature more than 2,000 presentations on the pathophysiology, treatment and epidemiology of arthritis and related diseases.

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