Rheumatology Research and Clinical Trials

Clinical studies and clinical trials are becoming one of the most important ways to advance the treatment of rheumatic diseases. Understanding how diseases affect the body has become essential to treating these diseases.

To test this promise, new and innovative clinical trials are undertaken to replace old therapies. Successful biotechnology approaches based on what is known about the cause and progression of disease has replaced the "trial and error" guesswork of the past. In this way, newer drugs can have a speedier path to the patient. New combinations of treatments will be employed based on clinical trial data.

In the future new biologic agents will deliver on the promise of improved efficacy, but they will meet the same standards for safety already in place for existing agents. The current experience with controlled clinical trials is of central importance in establishing the effectiveness of each therapy being studied.

Carefully selecting patients for clinical trials is critical for developing agents that have potential large costs and risks. Cedars-Sinai is poised to be a major institution to carry out these important clinical trials. The importance of prospective, randomized and controlled studies (sometimes requiring placebos) cannot be over-emphasized.

The patient population at Cedars-Sinai, as well as the cooperation of the 30 attending rheumatologists, is positioned to be on the forefront of innovative trials that will benefit our patients and bring new therapies to the practicing physician.

To search for information about specific clinical trials involving rheumatic diseases, click here.

Rheumatic Diseases Research Registry

Clinical research and studies are becoming one of the most important ways to advance the treatment of rheumatic diseases. Tests of promising new and innovative clinical studies help find cures, new and more effective therapies and provide information about the genetics of diseases.

As part of our commitment to the health of rheumatic diseases patients, the Division of Rheumatology at Cedars-Sinai has established the Rheumatic Diseases Research Registry. This is a database that contains health information provided by interested individuals who want to make a contribution to the future of medicine. As we begin clinical trials or studies at Cedars-Sinai, we contact appropriate candidates in the registry to see if they would like to participate.

If you have vasculitis, you may be eligible to enroll in our online Vasculitis Research Registry. This is a database that contains limited health information provided by individuals with vasculitis who are interested in hearing about current and future vasculitis research studies in which they may be eligible to participate, but without any obligation to participate.

If you would like more information about current research at Cedars-Sinai, please contact the Rheumatic Diseases Research Registry toll free at 888-582-2226

Genetics and Rheumatic Diseases

The dramatic advances in gene sequencing and analysis have opened up new avenues to understanding the complexity of the interactions of genetics and rheumatic diseases. Disease associations have been explored in the past with human leukocyte antigen (HLA) associations with rheumatoid arthritis. Now we are able to understand the strong relative risk profiles for rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility by newer and more specific genetic markers.

Patients who have these genetic markers may experience a more severe disease course and respond differently to therapies. The science of differential response to drugs through genetic mechanisms is called pharmacogenomics. We are at the dawn of the age of discovering if there is a rational use of genetic testing to select a profile of drugs to treat an individual. Large-scale research efforts using linkage analysis are identifying genes that may comprise the overall genetic component to certain diseases, such as ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Currently there are major research efforts to identify genes implicated in osteoarthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Specific gene therapies may be identified to reduce or block the pathways that lead to inflammation (swelling, tenderness and redness) in the progress of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Newer technologies are being developed to use genetic information to profile individual patients aiding clinical diagnosis, predicting response and choice of individual therapies and providing molecular measures that can add to clinical research into the potential effectiveness of new drugs in clinical trials.