New Arthritis Research Center One of Only Two in U.S.

New Arthritis Research Center One of Only Two in U.S.

Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati has established a new Rheumatic Diseases Research Core Center, one of only two core centers established nationwide with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The center, intended to benefit children and adults with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, was established at Cincinnati Children’s with a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a component of the NIH.

Under the leadership of Raphael Hirsch, M.D., professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Rheumatology, the core center at Cincinnati Children’s will concentrate on understanding the causes of pediatric rheumatic diseases and finding novel approaches for treating them.

“The center will emphasize interaction between basic science and clinical research efforts,” says Dr. Hirsch. “The grant will provide state-of-the-art technologies to faculty of Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine with research interests related to rheumatic diseases.”

The center will be composed of five cores: a repository to make tissue available to researchers; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor disease progression; identification of cells involved in rheumatic diseases; data processing and bioinformatics; and administrative support to coordinate project activities.

The new center will undertake two pilot studies. The first will examine the relationship between a protein produced in response to inflammation and the activation of the inner cells of blood vessels in the synovium (lubricating tissue surrounding moveable joints) of children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

The second study will examine the effects of certain enzyme inhibitors on the production of antibodies against a child’s own tissues in lupus nephritis, a kidney disease.

The other core center was established at the University of Pittsburgh.

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