Biologic indicators of immune remission to personalize treatment for childhood vasculitis
MoRE2020 fellow Martina Sundqvist - outgoing mobility from University of Gothenburg to University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada
Vasculitis is a rare childhood disease that develops when blood vessels in organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain are damaged by inflammation. Damage is often so severe that it leads to organ failure and/or death. There is no cure for vasculitis but it can be controlled by long-term treatments that suppress the immune system. These treatments work well but have a high risk of side effects that are especially bad for children such as infertility, cancer, and serious infections. For this reason, doctors want to give only enough medication to control the disease without causing other serious harm. There are no ways to know how much is enough for any given child so unfortunately all children get the same dose whether they need it or not.
In 2012, the team at UBC created a network of doctors and scientists in 35 international hospitals to better understand and treat these patients, and have today clinical information and samples collected from more than 150 children with vasculitis. In this project, Dr. Sundqvist will use these samples to find markers in the blood and/or urine that will tell doctors how severe the inflammation is, and when the drugs have suppressed the immune system enough so that treatment can be stopped. With these results at hand the sub-optimal "one-size-fits-all" treatment plan can instead be personalized so that each child can get an optimal dose of medication with the lowest risk possible of side effects. This will ultimately improve long-term health for children suffering from vasculitis.
Through this collaboration this knowledge and research will be further developed by Dr. Sundqvist at the University of Gothenburg in an international network and this treatment strategy will be made available for children with vasulitis in Västra Götaland.
Sahlgrenska University Hospital - Queen Silvia Children's Hospital - Unit of Pedriatic Rheumatology and Immunology
Sahlgrenska University Hospital - Unit of Rheumatology
Cassie and Friends Society