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Center for Arthritis and Related Diseases

How Common is Arthritis?

Statistics for 2008 report that 68 million people of all ages, nearly one in three adult Americans, are affected by arthritis or a related disease that affects the joints, muscles and bones. These diseases can cause severe health impairment leading to death, but their impact is usually reflected in restricted activity, loss of productivity, increased utilization of medical services and the high cost of medical and disability expenses.

Probably the most significant effect of arthritis is personal suffering.

What is the Center for Arthritis and Related Diseases?

Washington University School of Medicine has established a multidisciplinary Center for Arthritis and Related Diseases that, in addition to the Division of Rheumatology specialists, involves many physicians and scientists in other divisions and departments throughout the Medical Center.

To Learn More About Available Treatments at the Center for Arthritis and Related Disease, Please Call (314) 362-9075.

The medical team at the Center for Arthritis and Related Diseases (CARDS) are gearing up to make significant strides in battling these diseases and to become the country’s premier institute for research and patient care in this important area.

What is the role of research in my treatment?
Center investigators have dedicated themselves to an intensive assault on arthritis and related diseases. Although little is known about the causes of most forms of arthritis, many result from autoimmune diseases in which the immune system, intended to attack foreign invaders, turns instead to attack normal body tissue.

Investigators here focus on learning to regulate the overactivity of cells and proteins in the blood that result in these self-destructive reactions.

This approach promises to lead to new therapies for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, just as discovering the cause of Lyme disease, a potentially disabling form of arthritis that can also significantly damage the heart and brain, led rheumatologists to a simple antibiotic cure.

Research at the Center for Arthritis and Related Disorders is already nationally and internationally recognized. Center investigators successfully compete for funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Arthritis Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

What kind of patient care and clinical investigation is available to help the individual patient?
The Center already has an active clinical practice; it will be expanded with the development of a multidisciplinary arthritis clinic. This will provide opportunities for enhancing patient care by interactions with other clinical units such as those in orthopedics, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

At the Center, direct investigation of rheumatic diseases will encompass new research projects involving molecular and pathologic evaluation of autoimmune diseases and genetic epidemiology to determine which genes predispose patients to develop autoimmune diseases and affect clinical outcomes.

A number of promising new therapies currently are being evaluated at the Center. Preliminary information from the evaluations of new drugs suggests that they will be highly effective and produce fewer side effects than those currently available.

How can I receive treatment from the Center?
This is an exciting time at the Center for Arthritis and Related Diseases. If you would like to know more about the treatment available to you at this new institute in arthritis, please contact the Center for Arthritis and Related Diseases at (314 362-9075.

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Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine
Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine