Clinical Trials Specializing in Rheumatology

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What is the Root Cause of Psoriasis?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which your skin grows too quickly, about 10 times faster than normal. The skin piles up excessively which results in thickened plaques that is characterized as psoriasis. Psoriasis clinical trials aim to reduce the effects of and eventually eradicate psoriasis. So, what makes the skin grow so fast? An inaccurate response from the immune system. The immune system acts to prevent and fight against infections, but with autoimmune diseases, it is overly active and functions irregularly. An overactive immune system, in the case of psoriasis, leads to inflammation of the skin causing the skin to grow faster than it should producing redness, scaling, and itching. Researchers discovered three key components in the immune system that triggers psoriasis: A protein molecule called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is overproduced. TNF helps fight off infections and tumors, but when there is excessive TNF produced, it causes inflammation i the skin. Activated white blood cells, called T cells, can also produce an inflammatory reaction in the skin. Another protein like TNF, called interleukin-23 (IL-23) is found to be produced abundantly in psoriasis, causing skin lesions. Despite the discovery that these molecules and cells of the immune system are overactive and causing inflammation that leads to psoriasis, it is still unclear what causes these parts of the immune system to become overactive. Treatments being used in our psoriasis clinical trials aim to block the interactions between the cells and molecules in the immune system blocking the inflammatory pathways. Learn more here about our ongoing psoriasis clinical trials or give us a call at...

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Preparing for Your First Biologic Infusion

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

We often get the same question from our patients ready to partake in a biologic infusion for the first time, “how can I prepare?”. It’s important to prepare for a biologic infusion to help calm your nerves about the procedure, especially if it’s your first time around. Here are our tips for the biologic infusion goers: Eat a healthy breakfast. Unless you are asked to fast, it’s important to eat a healthy balanced breakfast to keep your blood sugar steady during the infusion. Invite a friend or family member. Many of our patients feel more comfortable bringing a friend or family member for support. Wear comfy clothes. You’re going to be sitting in a chair, so make sure you wear something soft and easy to move in. Bring a blanket. Many people feel that an IV gives them a chill, so bring a blanket in case you get cold. Pack a snack. Infusions can last long enough that you’ll get hungry. Be sure to bring a snack with you in case your hunger kicks in.. Have fun diversions available. Bring a crossword book, magazine, or other activity you can do on your lap. This will help keep your mind off of what’s going on and also pass the time. Bring a laptop, tablet, or phone. If your support team can’t make it, connect with them via Facebook, Twitter or texting. Or just play a fun game to pass the time. Have a driver. It’s impossible to predict how you’ll respond to an infusion or the pre-medications you will receive, so you may not want to drive home, at least not the first time. Speak up. If at any time, you are concerned about your well being, uncomfortable with what’s happening, or worried about anything, speak up. Lastly, know that infusions aren’t exactly the top of anyone’s list of to do’s, but with patience and time those hours in the chair could offer you something you’ve wanted back for a long time – your...

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What are Biologics?

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Biologics are a class of medications that are genetically engineered from a living organism, such as a protein or gene, to stimulate the body’s natural response to infection and disease. Unlike traditional systemic drugs that impact the entire immune system, biologics target specific parts of the immune system. Biologics can interfere with different inflammatory substances, cells or pathways responsible for the symptoms and damage of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. How do they work? A biologic is given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion. Biologics are used for the treatment of arthritis and work in several ways: Biologics block a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which is made by white blood cells and causes inflammation of the joint. Biologics block white blood cells called B-cells which produce antibodies and are produced excessively in some forms of arthritis. Biologics block interleukin-1 (IL-1) or interleukin-6 (IL-6), two proteins involved in joint inflammation. Biologics inhibit the activation of white blood cells called T-cells to prevent chain reactions that result in inflammation. Who are they for? Biologics are used for people with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases or forms of arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. There are several biologic drugs available today that have been approved by the FDA, such as Humira and Enbrel. It’s important to note that while biologics can help induce remission, they do not cure the disease. A clinical remission is defined as fewer than 15 minutes of morning stiffness and no tender or swollen joints for at least three months. Because biologic agents act selectively instead of targeting the entire immune system, the therapies offer a distinct advantage for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases by minimizing side...

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