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The May issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine reports on a study which claims to have found a successful treatment for children with SoJIA (systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis). The report is especially significant for children with SoJIA who have not responded to other therapies. Of the approximately 250,000 children in the United States with juvenile arthritis, about 10% (25,000) suffer from SoJIA. The disease often goes undiagnosed in its early stages. As it progresses, however, anemia and other blood-related problems develop along with inflammation and joint pain. Long-term disabilities may occur.

The researchers found that they "could not only control the disease, but also allow these children to grow and carry out normal lives." The patients were given a drug known as Anakinra (marketed by Amgen) and all of them responded favorably. Persistent fever stopped, active arthritis symptoms decreased in the joints, and hemoglobin, white blood cell, and other indicators improved. The therapy restored function to 75% of the subjects and lessened the symptoms of the other 25%. These findings were also presented to a recent meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology in Boston.

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