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

offers specialized support in RNA and protein analyses for biomarkers, which are endpoints used to evaluate the immune response at molecular and tissue levels in animal models and patients with rheumatic diseases; and

An Animal Genetics Core, which develops strains of genetically manipulated mice, which are used to investigate the causes and progression of disease, as well as the potential of new therapies.

The UCSD program is one of seven RDCCs in the U.S. funded by the federal government.

Silverman noted that the formation of these centers came from a realization at the federal level that a gap existed in resources available for fundamental research that could be translated into new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. There was a presumption that industry, specifically pharmaceutical companies, would fund the research and conduct all the clinical trials of new medical therapies. However, research on rheumatic diseases, and in particular those which incorporate the latest technologic approaches, have not been the highest priority for drug companies.

He added that the funding allows UCSD and area researchers to investigate high risk, innovative approaches that might not otherwise be undertaken.

The following are among the many researchers and projects in the RDCC:

Salvatore Albani, M.D., UCSD associate professor of pediatrics, studies genetic and environmental factors that influence rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, he plans a clinical trial of a new oral therapy for the disease.

Dennis Carson, M.D., UCSD professor of medicine and director, UCSD Sam and Rose Stein Institute on Aging, also directs an NIH-funded Specialized Centers of Research (SCOR) program on rheumatoid arthritis. An internationally recognized investigator in the field, he looks at new drug and genetic therapies to treat and prevent arthritis and cancer.

Edward Chan, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute, heads the DNA sequ

Contact: Sue Pondrom
University of California - San Diego

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