Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a category of JIA where multiple joints are affected by chronic inflammation, and where serious and lasting damage to joints is the expected natural history in untreated disease. There is evidence of response to disease-modifying antirheumatic and biologic drugs, but little evidence of permanent remission from any of the existing therapeutic trials. The TREAT trial by Wallace et al., recently published in Arthritis and Rheumatism, used a collaborative multicenter approach to studying early aggressive treatment of polyarticular JIA in an attempt to achieve full clinical inactive disease after 6 months of treatment. The study's main finding that the earlier in the disease course that treatment is started, the better the chance of disease control, has provided evidence that there is a 'window of opportunity' for treating JIA as there is in adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study provides both a platform and an impetus for concentrating future treatment trials on early rather than established disease and investigating a standard of starting treatment within 10 to 12 weeks.
Keywords: Childhood arthritis, polyarticular juvenile arthritis, treatment