Over the past ten years, advances in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis have made a dramatic difference in the lives of people with this disease. However, there is still much to be done.
Extensive research indicates that the earlier appropriate treatment for inflammatory arthritis begins, the less the ultimate disability. The Division’s Early Arthritis Initiative (EAI), a collaborative effort of members in the Inflammatory Arthritis Center to rapidly assess patients and educate them on their condition, the treatment options available, and to inform them of research studies they may be eligible for.
People treated at the Inflammatory Arthritis Center may be entered into registries, programs that allow for collection of anonymized data about the disease. Clinicians and researchers use this information to learn more about the course of inflammatory arthritis and how best to treat it.
The aim of the registries coordinated by health care professionals in the Inflammatory Arthritis Center is to expand the understanding of how and why inflammatory arthritis develops and to improve patient care. Highlights of some of the ongoing research by Inflammatory Arthritis Center:
Vivian Bykerk MD, Director of the Inflammatory Arthritis Center, is the principle investigator of CATCH (Canadian early ArThritis CoHort) since 2006. CATCH is a multicenter observational study of usual care of patients diagnosed as “early rheumatoid arthritis” or ERA. The CATCH study has recruited over 2400 patients at its 20 active centers across Canada and is still enrolling and expanding.
CATCH-US is a parallel study taking place across the United States, also under the leadership of Dr. Bykerk. The goal is to better understand predictors of treatment response in ERA patients. The U.S. study is set to begin shortly at HSS and two other sites; expansion to at least 6 other sites across the country is scheduled for the new year.
Susan Goodman MD, Assistant Director of the Inflammatory Arthritis Center and Medical Chief of the Combined Arthritis Program (CAP) of the Surgical Arthritis Service is the principal investigator of a study of RA patients undergoing joint replacement (arthroplasty). Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have poorer outcomes after arthroplasty, which may be due to disease “flare” or worsening of disease in the perioperative period.
For this study, Dr. Goodman and collaborators are looking at patients with RA undergoing either total hip or total knee replacement to determine the rate of post-op flare, the relationship of flare to periop medication withdrawal, and the relationship between post-operative disease flare and arthroplasty outcomes. Additionally, they are exploiting the pre-op withdrawal of RA medications to gather a repository of well-characterized RA patients for study in collaboration with HSS scientists.
The HSS Early Arthritis Initiative connects patients quickly and efficiently with a rheumatologist who can evaluate their joint pain and get each patient started on an appropriate course of treatment.