Pediatric Rheumatology Research Group

Anna-Birgitte AgaGroup leader
Anna-Birgitte Aga
Group leader

The research focus is diagnosis, prognosis, and tailored treatment strategies in pediatric rheumatic diseases. We want to evolve modern care for children and adolescents with rheumatic diseases by improving the understanding of the diseases and personalize targeted treatment. The work is aiming at optimized diagnosis, prediction models and targeted treatment strategies based on the patients’ clinical, personal, genetic and/or molecular profile. Furthermore, we will describe the burden of the disease for the patients, their families and the society. This is achieved through ongoing and planned clinical trials, observational studies and translational biomedical research.

Although being a small unit dealing with rare diseases, our research has been of high international quality and recognition. Our research is close to the clinic and results are readily translated to clinical practice. Through our research projects, national networks have been developed and international connections improved in the field of paediatric rheumatology.

Pediatric Rheumatology Research Group. From left: Siri Opsahl Hetlevik, Nils Bolstad, Johanna Gehin, Anne Marit Selvaag, Nina Krafft Sande, Imane Bardan, Pernille Bøyesen, Berit Flatø, Vibke Lilleby, Anna-Birgitte Aga, Irene Urnes Tjernlund, Martine Mesel Isom. In front: Anita Tollisen and Karen Holten. Photo: Åsne Rambøl Hillestad, UiO

Research project overview:

Clinical research

  • Optimized treatment of children and adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
  • Physical function, patient reported disease impact and quality of life, and health economy burden in JIA patients
  • Prediction models of therapeutic response in JIA patients based on clinical disease characteristics, biochemical, molecular and radiological measures of inflammation.
  • Long-term development of rheumatic diseases of childhood and adolescence with focus on JIA and juvenile mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD).

 Translational, multidisciplinary research (molecular biology, drug monitoring and imaging)

  • Molecular signatures on a cellular level in JIA.
    An assessment of how genetic expressions in leucocytes can differentiate between JIA sub-groups and work as measures of disease activity and treatment response (collaboration with M Mesel Isom and B Lie)
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring.
    Assessment of TNFi treatment levels and development of anti-drug antibodies and their association with treatment effect, adverse events and flares (collaboration with J Gehin and N Bolstad)
  • Ultrasound assessment of arthritis in JIA.
    Validation and implementation of ultrasound as a standardized assessment of arthritis in JIA
  • Whole-body MRI assessment of arthritis in JIA.
    Assessment of whole-body MRI as a measure of disease activity in JIA (collaboration with E Kirkhus)
  • Whole-body MRI assessment of osteitis in CNO.
    Assessment of whole-body MRI as a measure of disease activity in CNO (collaboration with L-S. Ording Muller)