Hospital for Special Surgery scientists share advances in lupus and related conditions

Hospital for Special Surgery physicians who focus on lupus, scleroderma and related conditions are traveling from New York City to Atlanta this week to share their recent findings at the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Special Surgery investigators will present advances that may influence the future of clinical care. Topics include prevention strategies for helping orthopedic patients avoid falls, quality of life in children with lupus, understanding joint pain caused by a commonly used breast cancer medication, lupus-related kidney disease, an international summit to identify antiphospholipid syndrome research questions and innovations in providing personalized care for people with lupus.

“With our multidisciplinary team providing comprehensive medical care and patient education in the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Care at Hospital for Special Surgery, the patient is the number one focus,” explained the Center’s co-director Doruk Erkan, M.D., co-author of a poster to be presented at the meeting. “We are treating the patient as a whole, not just the disease.”

At the meeting, the ACR will also honor three Hospital for Special Surgery faculty members with the designation of Master: Chief Scientific Officer Steven R. Goldring, M.D., Physician-in-Chief Emeritus Stephen A. Paget, M.D., and Attending Rheumatologist Joseph A. Markenson, M.D.

This recognition is one of the highest that the organization bestows. Eligible members are those age 65 and older who have made outstanding contributions to the rheumatology profession through academic achievements and service to patients and students. No more than 15 Master designations are awarded each year.

“It is remarkable that three rheumatologists from one institution would be honored by being named Masters,” said Mary K. Crow, M.D., physician-in-chief and chair of the HSS Division of Rheumatology, who is also a past president of the ACR. “Each of these Special Surgery experts has significantly contributed to the field of rheumatology.”

Dr. Goldring, who holds the St. Giles Chair at Special Surgery, oversees basic, clinical and translational research at the hospital and has been a leader in the field of bone remodeling research. Dr. Paget served as the hospital’s physician-in-chief and chair of the Division of Rheumatology from 1995 to 2010, and today continues his longstanding research on the development and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and related conditions. Dr. Markenson has regularly been a lead investigator of studies and clinical trials on new drugs for people who have rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and lupus.

Also at this year’s meeting, C. Ronald MacKenzie, M.D., associate attending rheumatologist at HSS, will be announced as the next chair of the ACR Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest. Ora B. Singer, M.D., a recent graduate of the HSS rheumatology fellowship program, will receive an ACR Distinguished Fellow Award, and Anant Vasudevan, a Yale University medical student who performed rheumatoid arthritis research at HSS, will receive an ACR Research and Education Foundation/Abbott Medical and Graduate Student Achievement Award.

News from the 2010 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting is embargoed until Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 at 5 p.m. ET.

Highlights of presentations by Hospital for Special Surgery scientists include:

International Summit Held to Stimulate Collaborative Clinical Research on Antiphospholipid Syndrome (6)

Monday, Nov. 8, 9 a.m. — 11 a.m., Halls B1 & B2

Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) is a condition that may be responsible for up to one-third of strokes in people under age 50, up to one-fifth of all cases of blood clots in large veins, and one-quarter of recurrent miscarriages. “There is an urgent need for a true international collaborative approach to design and conduct large-scale clinical trials involving people who have APS,” said Doruk Erkan, M.D., clinical co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Care at Hospital for Special Surgery. “At this summit, we hope to stimulate dialogue about this condition and formulate a solid research question from which to generate future clinical trials that are feasible, interesting and relevant.”

Study Sheds Light on Aromatase Inhibitor Joint Pain Syndrome (898)

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 9 a.m. — 11 a.m., Halls B1 & B2

Breast cancer patients are more likely to have joint pain from taking aromatase inhibitors (AIs) if they have advanced stage cancer, according to a new study that is one of the first to identify factors that increase the likelihood that a patient will experience joint pain from AI therapy. AIs, the standard of care for post-menopausal breast cancer, may cause debilitating joint pain, mainly in hands and wrists. “Patients complain bitterly about this pain that they get in their hands after starting these medications,” said Lisa Mandl, M.D., rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery, who was involved with the study. “It is so bad that sometimes patients stop taking AIs, even though we know the drugs are literally life-saving — they decrease the risk of dying from breast cancer.”

Link Between Nervous System and Immune System Found to Impact Inflammation in Lupus (866)

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 9 a.m. — 11 a.m., Halls B1 & B2

Many people with the autoimmune disease lupus believe that their condition worsens during stressful situations. Researchers have found that a pathway that connects the nervous system and immune system may influence the immune response to molecules involved in tissue injury and inflammation in complications of lupus, including kidney disease. “It’s exciting that the link between the nervous system and the immune system may be used to decrease inflammation in organs that are impacted by lupus,” said Jane A. Salmon, M.D., co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research at Hospital for Special Surgery. “Research of this pathway could lead to new targets for gentler treatments that may cause less tissue damage than current treatments.”

Kidney Complications of Lupus May Be Caused By Multiple Disease Mechanisms (1151)

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 9 a.m. — 11 a.m., Halls B1 & B2

Subclasses of lupus nephritis (kidney disease) have been the subject of prior studies without a conclusive consensus as to their causes. Researchers found that the two subclasses studied are brought about by different mechanisms. “We hope that further research into therapies that target each of these mechanisms may improve the outlook for patients with lupus nephritis,” said Michael Lockshin, M.D., director of the Barbara Volcker Center for Women and Rheumatic Disease at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Lupus Patients: The Doctor, Nurse and Social Worker Are Here to See You (2077)

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 9 a.m. — 11 a.m., Halls B1 & B2

The benefits of collaborative care of patients with complex autoimmune diseases like lupus are just beginning to be appreciated by physicians. Hospital for Special Surgery will present evidence of the advantages of a specialized disease center dedicated to comprehensive lupus care. “With our multidisciplinary team providing comprehensive medical care and patient education, the patient is the number one focus. We are treating the patient as a whole, not just the disease,” noted Doruk Erkan, M.D., co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Care.

Study Identifies Factors That Increase the Risk of Falls Among Orthopedic Inpatients (1576)

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 9 a.m. — 11 a.m., Halls B1 & B2

Patients who undergo total hip replacements are more at risk for having a serious fall while recovering in the hospital than patients undergoing other orthopedic procedures, according to a recent study. The study also identified other factors involved in patient falls that could help hospitals devise strategies to reduce these accidents. “Patients undergoing total hip replacements appear more likely to have more serious falls than other orthopedic patients, and serious falls happen earlier than most falls — two days postoperatively rather than four, when most falls occurred,” said Lisa Mandl, M.D., a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery.

New Assessment Tool Helps Shed Light on Lupus in Kids Worldwide (1872)

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 9 a.m. — 11 a.m., Halls B1 & B2

A newly designed tool is helping researchers shed light on the quality of life (QoL) of children with lupus worldwide. “Lupus is a significant disease with a major impact on QoL of children around the world. This is a chronic, unremitting disease that we need to get under better control,” said Thomas J.A. Lehman, M.D., chief of Pediatric Rheumatology at Hospital for Special Surgery, who was involved with the study.

About Hospital for Special Surgery

Founded in 1863, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics, No. 3 in rheumatology, and No. 16 in neurology by U.S.News & World Report (2010-11), and has received Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. From 2007 to 2011, HSS has been a recipient of the HealthGrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award. A member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS provides orthopedic and rheumatologic patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. All Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are on the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College. The hospital’s research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at http://www.hss.edu/.

Phyllis Fisher

[email protected]


Tracy Hickenbottom

[email protected]


The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.