Pediatric Research Funding
Childhood arthritis is the number-one cause of acquired disability in children and the sixth most common childhood disease. It is estimated that 300,000 children in the United States suffer from some form of arthritis or rheumatic disease. Many childhood rheumatic diseases are different from those that start in adulthood, yet most pediatric rheumatic diseases are treated with the same drugs used in adults. Basic research and clinical trials in pediatric rheumatology are the only way to find the specific causes and the right treatments for these diseases. Less than 2% of the annual NIAMS budget was allocated to support pediatric rheumatology research in the past four years. Currently funded projects include 11 basic and eight clinical trial/translational research projects, distributed among half of the 25 ACGME-accredited pediatric rheumatology divisions across the United States.
Explore This IssueOctober 2007
The current budget is clearly insufficient to address the scientific challenges in the field. NIAMS leads the main research effort in pediatric rheumatic diseases, and a further decrease in its FY 2007 budget will definitely have an effect on the already slim funding of arthritis and related rheumatic diseases in children. It will hamper basic research and patient care both in the short term – by not providing novel therapies – and even more importantly in the long term – by not training a new generation of pediatric rheumatologists to conduct clinical research.