Developing a New Class of Medications for Children

Published on 
April 20, 2017

Twenty years ago, a child with inflammatory arthritis had a very different life than a child with that same disease has today. In 1997, that child suffered from chronic pain and lack of mobility that kept them homebound – unable to go to school, have the opportunity to make friends or to participate in sports. During that same period, kids with autoimmune eye diseases went blind.

There was no targeted, effective therapy.

In 1998, following years of NIH-funded research and subsequent clinical trials like the one led by Andreas Reiff, MD, at CHLA, an entire new class of drugs emerged. These biopharmaceuticals were produced by recombinant DNA. Within just a few short years, treatments that actually targeted the biology of the diseases became available.

Children’s lives changed and medical history was made. Kids who had never gone to school could now attend every day. They made friends and for the first time, could participate in typical childhood activities.

Through research, a medical miracle was discovered.