Juvenile Dermatomyositis Pediatric Research and Clinical Trials

Researchers in our Rheumatology Program are looking at the results of aggressive treatment for juvenile dermatomyositis as it affects complete remission.

Between 1994 and 2004, 49 children with JDM received standardized therapy with steroids and methotrexate. If a patient's strength or muscle enzyme levels did not improve with this initial therapy, additional medications were quickly added. We then measured how long it took for a child to reach complete remission.

Our findings suggested that aggressive treatment of JDM aimed at achieving rapid, complete control of muscle weakness and inflammation improves outcomes and reduces disease-related complications. In more than one-half of the children whose disease was treated in this manner (28 of the 49), a prolonged, medication-free remission was attained an average of 38 months from the time of diagnosis. We concluded that aggressive management of juvenile dermatomyositis results in improved outcome and decreased incidence of calcinosis.

Some of our other research projects also include studying:

  • aggressive treatment directed at achieving rapid and complete control of muscle inflammation
  • the effects of biologic agents on treatment of JDM and other autoimmune conditions.

Learn more about our research.

Clinical trials

Children’s is known worldwide for pioneering some of the most effective diagnostic tools, therapies and preventive approaches in pediatric medicine. A significant part of our success comes from our commitment to research—and to advancing the frontiers of health care by conducting clinical trials.

Children’s coordinates hundreds of clinical trials at any given time. Clinical trials are studies that may involve:

  • evaluating the effectiveness of a new drug therapy
  • testing a new diagnostic procedure or device
  • examining a new treatment method for a particular condition
  • taking a closer look at the causes and progression of specific diseases

Children’s is involved in several multi-site clinical trials and studies focusing on pediatric dermatology and rheumatology. While children must meet strict criteria in order to be eligible for a clinical trial, your child may be a candidate for participation in a study. Before considering this option, you should be sure to:

  • consult with your child’s treating physician and treatment team
  • gather as much information as possible about the specific course of action outlined in the trial
  • do your own research about the latest breakthroughs relating to your child’s condition

Taking part in a clinical trial at Children’s is entirely voluntary. Our team will be sure to fully address any questions you may have, and you may remove your child from any medical study at any time.

Search current and upcoming clinical trials at Boston Children’s.

Search the National Institute of Health’s list of clinical trials taking place around the world.