In Phase 1, UCAN-A will focus on Paediatrics Rheumatology diseases plus Rheumatic fever which in many underserved countries in Asia remains a significant problem. The choice is at the same time strategic and pragmatic:
I state of art facilities and leadership specific to paediatric rheumatic diseases already are present in the founding groups;
II these diseases are dramatically under diagnosed, under treated and poorly understood throughout Asia. The possibility of networking throughout the continent will also provide the opportunity to achieve the critical mass necessary for translational and clinical research, including clinical trials.
The other opportunistic reason why we start with Paediatric Rheumatology and Rheumatic Fever, is because of the existing networks, one in Europe (UCAN-U) and the other in Canada (UCAN-A). A notable proof of our integer contribution to the field is a recent paper in Nature Rheumatology which we co-authored where these networks are explicitly mentioned.