Arthritis can destroy whole lives when affecting children
Approximately 300 000 children in the United States suffer from some type of arthritis and in Sweden 200 children develop JIA, also known as Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), annually.
JIA is the most common chronic rheumatologic disease among children and one of the most prevalent chronic childhood diseases. JIA is a heterogeneous group of disorders with clinical manifestation of chronic joint inflammation. With existing therapy some children recover and live normal lives, while children with severe cases of JIA continue to suffer from poor growth, progressive joint destruction and/or systemic inflammatory disease, disability, and poor quality of life.
When taking into account patients from all JIA subtypes, patients suffering from systemic-onset JIA in particular, face a poor prognosis- independent of treatment. There is no unique JIA treatment, instead current treatment strategies are adopted from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatments for adults.
The researchers behind this project have identified a novel target, for development of new arthritis drugs and treatments, as well as for other chronic inflammatory diseases. These new treatments aim at solving an unmet medical need for patients, and are expected to have less adverse effects than available treatments.
The project’s mission is to develop a new, unique biologic pharmaceutical for treatment of JIA, based on the discovery that the protein bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL) is a key player in development of chronic arthritis, such as JIA. This discovery stems from the researchers observations that in well-established, pre-clinical arthritis models loss of BSSL protects against developing arthritis, and further, that in several different arthritis models, antibodies directed towards BSSL have preventive effect on arthritis development.
The team has long experience of research on BSSL and is well known within the international scientific community for BSSL research and has long experience from clinical medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. The project, through LipUm AB, has a strong IP portfolio with granted patents in USA and New Zealand, as well as pending applications in several countries.