New collaborations to expand research have been established with the Immunology Institute and the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology to discover and study new arthritis, autoimmune and inflammation regulatory genes. Rheumatology has also taken a center role in establishing a new Autoimmune Disease Research Group, and the division is establishing a strong partnership with the dermatology division to study and treat psoriatic arthritis.
Under the new leadership of Percio Gulko, MD, the division is now expanding its activities and developing new translational disease-oriented research activities centered on the development of new therapies and new prognostic biomarkers and predictors of drug responses for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Additionally, preliminary evidence suggests that some of these new emerging drugs from the Gulko laboratory may suppress the ability of cancer cells to invade and potentially metastasize, thus having a major potential to help treat patients with different forms of cancer. The division has been in contact with several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and will be involved in testing new cutting-edge technologies and drugs. It is also in the advance stages of becoming a site for four new trials.
The division’s collaborative and integrated approach to research has allowed data to be analyzed in new ways, using new pathway and candidate gene discoveries. In addition, the division is exploring partnership to enable the analysis of genetic data from patients, including the more than 1,400 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and the nearly 500 patients with psoriatic arthritis currently followed in the division.
As one of four referral centers in the country for amyloid diseases, the Division of Rheumatology at Mount Sinai has significant clinical and research expertise in these conditions. Current basic research is examining the pathogensis of various forms of amyloid disease, especially those associated with aging and heredofamilial forms of amyloidosis.
Mount Sinai has been a recognized center in gout therapeutics since the 1950s, stemming from the original contributions of Drs. Alexander Gutman and Tsai-Fan Yu. Their findings led to the introduction of probenecid for treating gout and to the discovery of the potential of colchicine for preventing attacks of gout. Tophacceous gout is increasing in frequency as incidences of metabolic syndrome and renal failure increase as well as a side effect of post organ transplantation medications. Current studies are focused on the use of drugs that lower uric acid, such as recombinant uricase for patients with advanced tophaceous disease.