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Rheumatology Allergy and Immunology Research

Recent scientific discoveries illuminating the immunology component of rheumatic disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system has expanded understanding of a host of diseases, including arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout and fibromyalgia. New treatment modalities are being based on clinical research in immunology and resulting awareness of the genetic basis of rheumatological disorders.

  • More than 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis or chronic joint pains.
  • By 2030, an estimate 66 million Americans, age 18 and older, will be diagnosed with arthritis.
  • Crippling rheumatoid arthritis affects an estimated 3 million Americans.
  • Approximately 300,000 children in the US have juvenile arthritis.
  • Half of adults, age 65 and older, are diagnosed with arthritis.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease, Arthritis Foundation

Winthrop-University Hospital researchers, specializing in rheumatology and immunology, have shown a link between increased risk of heart attack in patients taking VIOXX for pain control in arthritis. They are also studying individuals with rheumatoid arthritis to test the safety and effectiveness of an investigational medication and see if it can reduce the pain and swelling that has not responded to previous medical therapy. Sjogren’s Syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease is also being investigated. There research also examines effects of lupus on atherosclerosis.

WUH Researchers’ Study:

  • Effects of methotrexate, an anti-inflammatory agent used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • The effects of COX-2 inhibitors on accelerator macrophage development into foam cells as a potentially important mechanism of accelerated vascular disease.