Thoughts on ACR Research
Hospital for Special Surgery, known for innovative research in rheumatology, had the chance to share its latest studies and present exciting new findings at the recent American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Diego.
HSS had a strong presence at the scientific meeting, with more than 60 accepted studies. At the conference, our researchers highlighted discoveries helping to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of rheumatic diseases and presented findings regarding best practices. These investigations may one day change the face of how we diagnose and treat these potentially devastating conditions.
Our presentations ranged from basic science research involving genome-wide analysis, to a study showing the importance of treating rheumatoid arthritis early, to the link between social isolation and pain after hip replacement.
An important study made possible by a multi-year grant from the National Institutes of Health discovered a biomarker linked to poor pregnancy outcomes in patients with lupus (http://www.hss.edu/newsroom_pregnancy-outcome-in-lupus-patients.asp). Another study identified a biomarker in the plasma of lupus patients that appears to increase the risk of kidney disease, one of the most serious complications of lupus.
Another investigation set out to determine if statin drug therapy could lower the risk of blood clots after knee or hip replacement surgery. Researchers found that patients taking statins had a lower risk of a pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening blood clot that travels to the lungs.
Two large studies by interdisciplinary HSS research teams looked at patients who had either psoriatic arthritis or both psoriasis and osteoarthritis to see if these diseases would affect joint replacement outcomes. The study resulted in good news for patients: those with psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis and osteoarthritis still had favorable outcomes after hip and knee replacement surgery.
Another study found that early, effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis reduced the amount of joint damage and disability patients experienced two years after their diagnosis (http://www.hss.edu/newsroom_early-ra-treatment-reduces-risk.asp). The findings show the need for doctors to warn patients about the hazards of delaying treatment.
Researchers at HSS also embarked on a study to see if there’s a connection between social isolation and pain after hip replacement. Previous studies had shown that people lacking good social ties are at increased risk of suffering other poor outcomes, such as a heart attack or stroke, compared to those who enjoy the social support of family, friends and the community. HSS investigators found a strong link between social isolation and increased pain after hip replacement for osteoarthritis, even two or more years after surgery (http://www.hss.edu/newsroom_social-isolation-hip-replacement-pain.asp).
This is only a sampling of the many important studies we presented at the rheumatology meeting. As for the future, HSS will forge ahead with investigations to better understand rheumatic diseases. We remain steadfast in our dedication to discovering new approaches for prevention, diagnosis and treatment to improve the lives of our patients.
Dr. Mary K. Crow is Physician-in-Chief and Chair of the Division of Rheumatology at Hospital for Special Surgery (ranked #4 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, 2013). Dr. Crow combines basic and translational research on the mechanisms that underlie systemic autoimmune diseases. Dr. Crow serves as Co-Director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research and Director of the Autoimmunity and Inflammation Research Program at Hospital for Special Surgery.