[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
Resilience in the Face of Adversity!
In this edition of the ANRF Chronicle, we highlight the work of two ANRF-funded researchers at the prestigious Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachusetts: Dr. Christian Jacome-Galarza, exploring new ways to prevent bone and cartilage erosion, and Dr. Joerg Ermann, investigating Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) - a serious yet understudied inflammatory disease of the spine and joints. We also share a primer on Autoimmune Diseases, some tips on preventing the spread of COVID-19 while in and out of hospital settings, and a brief history of Juvenile Arthritis as part of our Arthritis Archive educational series. In the spotlight this month we feature a young ANRF supporter, Ashley Scott (14). Ashely is turning her passion for dancing into real impact by raising funds online to support our mission through our Dancing for a Cure program. Notably, we welcome this month the enrollment of Gilead Sciences as a new ANRF corporate partner. Gilead now joins other industry leaders like Novartis and Bristol-Myers Squibb in supporting ANRF through our multi-tiered membership program.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the new class of ANRF Scholars 2020 soon. Every year, we award research funding to some of the brightest minds in the fields of Arthritis, Rheumatology and Autoimmune Diseases. Despite the many challenges caused by COVID-19 this year, we were determined to select a new cohort that emerged following a rigorous, peer-review competition. Our commitment to the community is to stay resilient in the face of adversity!
The Race for a Cure is On!
From sports events to the arts - why not do the activities you love under the Racing For A Cure banner? This campaign allows participants to raise both funds and awareness for a meaningful cause. Individuals and teams can support patients with arthritis and further the fight to find effective treatments and a long-term cure. With Racing for a Cure, it is easy to make a big difference!
Dr. Jacome-Galarza – A Bone to Pick with Osteoclasts
The health of our bones relies, in large part, on a balance between cells that build bone (osteoblasts) and cells that break bone down (osteoclasts). ANRF scholar Dr. Christian Jacome-Galarza is investigating why some osteoclasts go rogue, disrupting the balance and causing inflammatory destruction.
In a recent study, a single drop of viral DNA was placed in a hospital ward to test its spread. The alarming percentage of areas testing positive in the ward in a short space of time emphasizes the importance of good practices like physical distancing, wearing masks and goggles, and washing hands with soap for a sufficient time. The power to limit the spread of COVID-19 really is in our own hands.
Arthritis is often considered a condition of the elderly, but that is simply not the case. In the US alone, over 300,000 children suffer from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). Although patients with JIA are young, the history of the condition is not. In this JIA awareness month we explore the history of this condition.
Dr. Ermann – Spine-tingling Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Research
Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) is a group of proteins important in helping the immune system identify and differentiate between healthy body tissue and foreign substances. Around 90% of AS patients have specific HLA variant known as HLA-B27, which contributes to immune system disfunction. Dr. Joerg Ermann examines the role of HLA-B27 in the development of AS and its association with other pro-inflammatory molecules that are elevated in these patients.
Getting to Grips with the Basics of Autoimmune Disease
The prevalence of autoimmune disease is around 5%, affecting 24 million Americans. There are over 80 different autoimmune conditions, but there are certain risk factors, symptoms, difficulties in diagnosis, and treatment options that are common to multiple conditions. These are discussed here and provide an overview of autoimmune disease.
This March, Ashley Scott learned about ANRF’s Dancing for a Cure program and decided to turn her passion into impact. She started her own fundraiser, Dancing for the Joints, and received overwhelming support, raising hundreds of dollars for arthritis research in just a few days. It was, in part, a way to contribute to medical advancement before her medical career can take off. But more than that, it was a chance to honor the extraordinary women who have inspired Ashley to live an extraordinary life.