[Arthritis, Rheumatology, and Autoimmune Diseases] An Online Publication of the Arthritis National Research Foundation
Zaher Nahle PhD, MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Arthritis National Research Foundation
May is Arthritis Awareness Month!
Arthritis Awareness Month is an important time to advocate for scientific research and promote awareness of Arthritis and Autoimmune conditions. That said, Disease Awareness has an additional meaning at the time we are all learning to coexist with COVID-19, and contain a pandemic driven by an insidious virus. In this issue, we highlight the topic of convalescent plasma that has been experimented with in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Separately, we feature exciting work on the molecular basis of Lupus and the genetics of Juvenile Arthritis by two talented ANRF scientists, Drs. Jolien Suuremond and Halima Moncrieffe, respectively. That is in addition to the second installment of our pain management series for patients living with arthritis. We offer some tips on how to have a conversation about your autoimmune conditions. Also, we delve into the history and treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis in a feature that may test your knowledge of this type of inflammatory arthritis. Finally, we pay tribute in this publication to the meaningful life of Deanna La Camera who was a strong supporter of ANRF.
Dr. Suurmond - A Journey of Self-Discovery
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects women in early childbearing age, and therefore has a devastating impact on patient lives. As a young woman herself, Dr. Suurmond felt she could relate to the difficulties patients experience with side effects of medications and has seen the struggles of SLE patients she knows.
Convalescent Plasma - Experienced Soldiers to Fight COVID-19
Antibodies, our immune cell soldiers that fight COVID-19, can possibly be harnessed to fight on foreign soil. These soldiers can be removed from recovered patients and given to those currently fighting an active infection. These transferred antibodies, which are specific to COVID-19, can boost a patient’s response to more effectively and rapidly recover.
Dr. Moncrieffe – Single Protein Regulation of Multiple JIA Genes
Despite numerous medical advances, there are a number of diseases for which we still do not understand the cause. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is one such disease. Despite lacking an exact cause, studies have identified that multiple genes are involved in this disease, each making small but significant contributions to the development of the condition. Dr. Moncrieffe strives to identify how variation in genes and the interactions between these genes leads to the unwanted and unnecessary inflammation associated with JIA, with the hope of identifying a molecule that can regulate multiple genes involved and result in far superior treatment outcomes.
A disease known to have existed in ancient crocodiles continues to plague mankind today. In this article, the discovery, characterization and treatment options of AS are looked at through the ages. Large strides in genome studies and advances in imaging techniques have reignited research in AS in the last two decades, with discoveries contributing to improved treatment and prognosis for patients.
In part two of our series, we explore noninvasive pharmacologic pain management. Over the counter and prescription medications, when used appropriately, can offer a great deal of relief as part of a holistic pain management strategy. Here, we take you through common pharmacologic pain medications. Remember, all medications should be discussed with your physician before use.
How to Have a Conversation About Your Autoimmune Condition
It can seem intimidating to open up about something that has such a large impact on your life. Especially when those around you can sympathize but not empathize. Here, we offer helpful hints on how to approach a conversation about your condition with those closest to you. Your journey will differ from another patient’s even though you have the same condition, so sharing your personal experience with your condition will give those closest to you the best chance of being able to support you effectively.
In the month of May, we have benefited from the support of a strong community with a common goal to improve the lives of those with arthritis and related autoimmune conditions. Community members have started fundraisers through our Racing for a Cure platform, shown there generosity on Giving Tuesday Now, and spread the word to friends and family through social media. Community support keeps us going in our mission to fund innovative research in the search for a cure. Thank you to all those who have shown their commitment to the work we do this month and every day of the year.