Professor Michael Beresford shared how Alder Hey is leading the way in improving the care and understanding of Childhood Lupus.
He explained “Childhood Lupus is a severe disease where the body’s immune system reacts to its own cells, causing autoantibodies to be produced and resulting in inflammation and damage to many organs of the body. There is no cure and despite advances in treatment, the damage to organs can be severe and occasionally life threatening.”
“Lupus can be difficult to diagnose. Many of the symptoms (tiredness, headaches, mood swings, forgetfulness, agitation to name a few) are very common in the normal teenager but they can also be the signs of possible serious diseases which can affect different parts of the body.
“There are many challenges when treating Lupus; the disease can sometimes cause growth problems, blindness and other complications. Children are extraordinary in understanding their disease and the treatment that goes with it. The effect of Lupus on the whole family can be extreme. The impact on the diseases doesn’t just affect the child but also their siblings and extended family.
“The UK JSLE Study Group is co-ordinated from Alder Hey with members from almost all of the paediatric centres in the UK. The JSLE is a collaborative group of paediatric rheumatologists, nephrologists and dermatologists, adult rheumatologists and nurse specialists, lay representative and basic scientists. They are working together to develop a comprehensive research program to find out who gets Lupus, what causes it, how do children (and adults) respond to treatment etc.
“We are extremely proud of the work that we are doing to improve the care and understanding of Childhood Lupus. By combining our knowledge of the disease, our research into new treatments and our day to day care of patients at Alder Hey we believe we can make a real difference.”