Royal visit to adolescent arthritis centre 

12/02/2015 00:00 
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, today visited teenagers with arthritis at University College Hospital in London in her capacity as Patron of Arthritis Research UK.
 

During a visit to the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology and the Adolescent Inpatient Unit at University College Hospital in London, The Duchess of Cornwall met with patients and the adolescent rheumatology team carrying out ground breaking research here in the UK. 

The research centre is the world’s first dedicated to understanding how and why arthritis and other rheumatic conditions affect teenagers. During the visit, The Duchess of Cornwall was shown immune cells in a microscope as part of a project defining how puberty and stress can affect the immune system and MRI scans which show how the progress of arthritis in teenagers is different to that of adults. She also had the opportunity to meet young people who have been instrumental in the development of support and information services for other patients in conjunction with the researchers.
There are approximately 15,000 children and young people in the UK living with the pain caused by arthritis. Having arthritis as a teenager makes the physical, psychological and sexual changes teenagers go through more difficult.

The Arthritis Research UK Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology opened in 2012 and is a collaboration between UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), UCL, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity . Researchers at the Centre aim to understand why rheumatic diseases such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus (JSLE) can be more severe in teenagers and why specific types of arthritis are more likely to occur in this age group.  It is hoped that the research will lead to better treatments for teenagers and young people with the condition.

Richard Murley, chairman of UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) said: “We are proud to be working with our partners at Arthritis Research UK, UCL and GOSH to lead the work in developing a greater understanding of arthritis and rheumatism in teenagers. It is our great pleasure to have welcomed the Duchess of Cornwall to University College Hospital today to meet some of the young people who are helping us to shape how we support patients in future.”

Dr Liam O’Toole, chief executive officer at Arthritis Research UK said “Having arthritis at any time in your life is difficult but having arthritis as a teenager is particularly challenging. The daily pain can have a massive impact on a young person’s appearance, social life and education. The research at the centre is focused on improving the health and wellbeing of these young people living with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.”

Danny Roberts, 13, from Maida Vale, was delighted to get a photo with The Duchess of Cornwall. He said: “It was fantastic to meet the Duchess of Cornwall, she was really interested in why I’m here and wanted to find out more about how I’m being treated. It was really nice of her to come and see us and be so concerned.”

To find out more about the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology please visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org and www.centre-for-adolescent-rheumatology.org

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