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Rheumatology Research Foundation Funded Project Provides New Metric in Search for Rheumatoid Arthritis Cure

Gregg Silverman, MD, of NYU Langone, explains how study advances patient care

February 7, 2017

Gregg Silverman, MD, of NYU Langone, who is using the measurement of immunologic memory to advance the search for an RA cure.

ATLANTA – A new measurement tool could mean big changes for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). With funding from the Rheumatology Research Foundation, Gregg Silverman, MD, led a study that developed a means for the measurement of immunologic memory in autoimmune disease. This new tool will allow doctors and researchers to measure the immunologic defects that are the actual cause of a patient’s RA and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

“Until now, arthritis was measured by inflammation and by symptoms,” said Dr. Silverman, professor of medicine and pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Now we can measure the number of autoimmune cells in someone’s immunologic memory to look at the underlying cause of the actual disease that is responsible for symptoms and joint destruction.”

With this data, Dr. Silverman explains that doctors and researchers can better gauge the effectiveness of rheumatoid arthritis treatments. Such information can be applied to evaluate new, as well as existing RA medications, and help guide the development of a cure. 

Dr. Silverman believes the tool will also be adaptable to measure other diseases caused by problems with B cell autoimmune memory, such as lupus. The study, entitled Disease associated anti-citrullinated protein memory B cells in rheumatoid arthritis persist in clinical remission, has undergone full peer review and was published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

“Being a practicing rheumatologist, I am very concerned about the welfare of my patients, and I believe we can’t be complacent. We have to keep working towards better treatments and a cure,” said Dr. Silverman. “That is what this study is all about, and that is what the Rheumatology Research Foundation is all about.”


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