“Dr Papadopoulou is working on this project to study novel tests that could identify and track vasculitis and its sequelae in patients with JDM and is aiming to answer the questions:"
Whilst the cause of JDM is unknown it is believed that the child's own immune system attacks the blood vessels in the muscle and skin, leading to damage of these tissues. The impact can vary from mild skin involvement, to severe weakness and multi-organ involvement even leading to death. The development of vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) is often associated with severe disease and poorer outcomes, but there are currently no tests to detect or monitor this.
Dr Papadopoulou is working on this project to study novel tests that could identify and track vasculitis and its sequelae in patients with JDM and is aiming to answer the questions :
Can we use a set of new blood tests indicative of blood vessel injury and hypercoagulability (tendency to blood clot) to monitor disease activity and responses to treatment in JDM?
Is there any evidence that children and adolescents are at risk of long term cardiovascular risk as a result of this ongoing blood vessel injury?
The ultimate goal is use these discoveries to help us identify new treatments to allow a more 'personalised' approach for the treatment of JDM. This research project will therefore lead to improvement in child and adolescent healthcare through :
(i) Resolving major questions about what causes disease in JDM and provide new insight into disease processes, especially the role of blood vessel injury and thrombosis (blood clotting).
(ii) Developing a panel of new blood test markers for use in clinical care aiming to predict either disease severity or complications.
(iii) In the future, using these discoveries to identify high risk patients who need stronger treatment, thus sparing unnecessary lengthy treatment in some, and treating others earlier.
(iv) Lastly, if we confirm that there is evidence of ongoing blood vessel injury in children with JDM and this translates to an increased long-term cardiovascular risk we may be able to help by using new medicines and formal therapeutic lifestyle interventions to reduce this risk before these children and adolescents progress into adulthood.