Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Professors Betty Diamond, MD, and Peter K. Gregersen, MD, released data from their National Institutes of Health (NIH) research which reveals our cells’ roles in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Their work is part of the NIH’s Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (AMP RA/SLE) Phase I study. The AMP RA/SLE datasets can be accessed by scientists from across the biomedical research community to explore important research questions about these autoimmune conditions, potentially leading to new therapies.
Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are autoimmune diseases that can last a lifetime, cause significant disability, greatly reduce quality of life and are associated with increased risk of early death. These disorders share similar flaws in immune function and regulation, leading to inflammation that damages tissue. People with these conditions need more and better treatments, as some fail to respond to existing therapies.
“Before we can develop therapies for a condition, we need to fully understand the cause which is the goal of the NIH’s AMP RA/SLE program,” said Dr. Diamond, head of the Feinstein Institute’s Center for Autoimmune, Musculoskeletal and Hematopoietic Diseases. “The research conducted in Phase I of this program focused on single cells, so we could tease out the contributions of specific pathways inside these cells that may play a role in lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, providing a new approach to understanding autoimmunity.”
Drs. Diamond and Gregersen joined investigators across the country and employed state-of-the-art tools to analyze individual cells from the lining of the joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis and the kidneys from people with lupus from research cohorts whose clinical characteristics were well-studied. The newly released information holds clues for potential research targets that may lead to future treatment options.
“The best way to drive forward our genetic understanding of diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis is through access to large amounts of genetic data for analysis by the scientific community,” said Dr. Gregersen, head of the Feinstein Institute’s Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics & Human Genetics. "Availability of this data through the AMP RA/SLE program expands the search for genes, proteins, biological pathways and other factors that influence these conditions. The data we are generating also has potential implications for precision medicine, as it points to the pathways active in the tissue of different patients which could be used for more targeted therapies.”
The AMP RA/SLE investigators are currently conducting Phase II studies, which will include a larger cohort of patients with RA and lupus. The Phase I data are freely available through the NIAID-sponsored Immunology Database and Analysis Portal. Genomic data are also being submitted to be made available through the NIH’s database of Genotypes and Phenotypes.
“This pioneering program seeks to speed the development of new ways to combat a range of devastating diseases that affect millions of people,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “AMP RA/SLE is entering an exciting phase as experts around the world will begin to mine this invaluable biomedical resource in search of tomorrow’s cures.”
The AMP RA/SLE program is one of three AMP projects launched in 2014 as part of an unprecedented public-private partnership to identify promising biological targets for potential therapeutics and reduce the time and cost of developing them. The NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), manages the AMP RA/SLE program. The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) manages the partnership between the NIH and the external partners, which include participating members from industry (AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co., Inc., Pfizer Inc., Sanofi, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Inc.) and non-profit partners (Arthritis Foundation, Lupus Foundation of America, Lupus Research Alliance, and Rheumatology Research Foundation). Within the context of the partnership, industry and nonprofit partners are also actively involved in sharing resources and expertise.
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About the Feinstein Institute
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein Institute includes 4,000 researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org
About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH)
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH, the world’s premier medical research agency. The Foundation, also known as the FNIH, works with its partners to accelerate biomedical research and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. The FNIH organizes and administers research projects; supports education and training of new researchers; organizes educational events and symposia; and administers a series of funds supporting a wide range of health issues. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit fnih.org.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Heather E. Ball Mayer