NIH-funded UCSD rheumatic diseases center to facilitate collaboration, speed discoveries

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine has received a 5-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for a Rheumatic Diseases Core Center (RDCC) designed to speed up the development of new diagnostic tools and therapies for the millions of individuals suffering from rheumatic diseases.

The RDCC makes advanced scientific tools available to researchers and offers opportunities for collaboration between investigators from the host UCSD campus and two affiliated institutions, The Scripps Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. Researchers from 30 laboratories will participate in the RDCC program, with additional collaborations anticipated with the Salk Institute of Biological Studies and area biotech companies.

RDCC director and UCSD professor of medicine Gregg Silverman, M.D., said the goal of the RDCC is translational medicine, the rapid movement of innovative scientific discoveries from the laboratory to patient treatment.

Well be successful if during the next five years were able to develop new diagnostic tests and undertake several new clinical trials of innovative therapies, he noted.

Rheumatic diseases, which include arthritis, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), scleroderma, gout and other ailments, affect more than 40 million Americans. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and swelling in joints and other supporting structures of the body such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. Many rheumatic diseases can also affect internal organs.

The cause of most rheumatic diseases is still under investigation and early diagnosis is difficult. Treatment varies depending upon the specific disease, but frequently includes rest and relaxation, exercise, proper diet, medication, surgery, and assistive devices such as splints or braces.

The RDCC will assist with several projects. One ex

Contact: Sue Pondrom
University of California - San Diego

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