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Patients of all ages can take part in research studies, like Alex, age 9, who says he took part in the "Sycamore" trial, investigating new ways of treating Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) associated uveitis: "to get me better," and adds that it was "a benefit to me. It helped me fix my eyes."

JIA  is the name for a type of arthritis that primarily affects young people and whose cause is unknown. 'Arthritis' means inflammation of the joints, but in JIA the inflammation could also affect the eyes and internal organs.

Approximately 1 in 1000 children in the UK develop JIA. Both boys and girls are affected and of those children with JIA around 30-40 % are at risk of inflammation of the uvea in the eye, known as uveitis. In one third of the children who develop uveitis, the disease is of significant severity to cause visual loss, cataracts, increased pressure in the eye and blindness.

Alex also finds that another benefit is "seeing other children who all had the same disease as myself, and who were all getting the same medication"

Alex doesn't yet know whether he received the new treatment or the current treatment - the purpose of a "randomised controlled trial" is to compare a new treatment against best current care - patients do not know which treatment they receive as this may bias the findings. The trial is still underway," if it shows that the new treatment (adalimumab) is effective in treating children with severe uveitis, this would result in better control of inflammation in children with this severe eye complication of JIA and would hopefully decrease the proportion of children who develop serious visual complications and blindness from uncontrolled uveitis."

More information is available on the trial website: