Winthrop's New Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Center Offers State-Of-The-Art Treatment

Vol. 16, No. 2
Spring/Summer 2006

  • Winthrop Neurosurgeon Offers Patients Relief From Severe Chronic Pain With Neurostimulation

  • Bug Bite & Once Controversial Treatment Saves Father of Six

  • Winthrop's New Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Center Offers State-Of-The-Art Treatment

  • Winthrop First NY Metro Hospital to Receive the ASA's Initial Performance Achievement Award

  • Fitness Program Gets Young Cancer Patients Back in the Game

  • Hagedorns' Extraordinary Gift Helps Make Miracles Grow Everyday

  • The Miracle Foundation Gives $50,000 in Support of Cancer Center for Kids

  • First Annual Mardi Gras Gala Benefits Cancer Education, Research and Support Services

  • Retired Bank Chairman's Exceptional Generosity Benefits Winthrop's Pediatric Facilities

  • A Smart Way to Give

  • Winthrop Attracts Newest Medical Talent To Residency Program

  • Gifts of Love for Winthrop's Littlest Patients

  • Cardiac Surgeon and Family Donate in Support of Heart Surgery Center Construction

    Back to Publications

  • Lois Bonetti, RN, RA Center, consults with Martha Seril during a recent therapy session at Winthrop's new, stateof- the-art Infusion Center.
    Martha Seril, 77, looks content sitting in a beige recliner. The now retired professional entertainer was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 1995 and receives therapy in the new, state-of-the-art Infusion Center at Winthrop's Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease Center.

    Each of its six infusion stations is equipped with a recliner, television and DVD player so that patients can comfortably pass the time during their appointments. This facility is also used for patient instruction on administering self-injections.

    The Center's medical staff is devoted to providing comprehensive arthritis care to its patients. The proximity of the new facility to Winthrop's outpatient Radiology Department allows the Center's physicians to enjoy a close collaboration with musculoskeletal radiologist, Jonathan Luchs, MD, enhancing their multidisciplinary approach to patient care.

    "Musculoskeletal imaging is a vital tool that we use regularly for patient diagnosis, as well as for our determination of disease severity and progression," said Steven Carsons, MD, Chief, Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, and Director of the Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease Center. "Having the Radiology Department nearby is much more convenient for our many patients with limited mobility."

    A chronic autoimmune disease, RA is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting many different joints in the body. Over time, RA can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain, loss of function and disability. Approximately one percent of the U.S. population (about 2.1 million people) has RA.

    "After walking for just 10 minutes, I would have to sit down because it was too painful," said Mrs. Seril. "My fingers, wrists and ankles were all swollen. It was a very difficult time."

    One of thousands of patients who develop RA and related forms of arthritis in their elder years, Mrs. Seril struggled to find effective treatment that would alleviate her pain. She was finally referred to Dr. Carsons, who began treating her with infliximab (Remicade(R)), a biologic agent that helps control inflammation and subsequent damage to the joints.

    "I am now able to walk distances, and I don't have the pain, swelling and redness that I had before," said Mrs. Seril. "The treatment is administered by my nurse Lois, who is terrific. "

    Elise Belilos, MD, Rheumatology Section Head, and Dr. Carsons have been investigating potential new uses of infliximab in related inflammatory conditions such as polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), an inflammatory disorder that causes severe stiffness involving the neck, shoulders and hips in elder patients.

    "We have been studying other new antibody therapies, including abatacept (Orencia) and Rituximab, for patients with RA," explained Dr. Belilos.

    Drs. Carsons and Belilos, along with their colleagues, Gary Rosenblum, DO, and Kristina Belostocki, MD, are seeking answers to clinical questions aimed at expanding the understanding and improving the treatment of several rheumatic diseases. Several Winthrop faculty members have been awarded New York State Empire Clinical Investigator Grants that fund research exploring how age and gender bear on the medications physicians choose to prescribe.

    "Through the combined missions of patient care, research and teaching, the Rheumatology faculty plans to continue evaluating and validating new medicines and treatment approaches that will help patients achieve the greatest degree of function and maintain their ability to participate in activities they enjoy," said Dr. Carsons.

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