Researchers and scientists at the University of Arizona Division of Rheumatology and UA Arthritis Center are working to develop a blend of innovative approaches to turn problems into solutions. These approaches have the potential to work together with current therapies and ensure a safer, more convenient and cost-effective reversal of the disease process.
Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are diseases of the immune system, whose function in health is to defend from infection and cancer. In arthritis, the immune system produces too much inflammation, which sustains itself and provokes increasing damage to the joint and the whole body. Current therapies do not end this battle created in the body. They powerfully and indiscriminately suppress components of the immune system that are a part of the problem. Consequently, this approach has an increased risk of infections and cancer, is often inconvenient, may be toxic, and is expensive.
Tools being developed are based on reestablishment of the natural mechanisms of disease control that are impaired by the disease process. These approaches range from restoration of tolerance, to reconstruction of destroyed joints, to better understanding of the mind-body relationship.
From molecules to minds, from treatments to tools, our research programs provide cutting-edge progress on the pathway to finding cures for arthritis and related afflictions.
Examples of our research include:
Biomarkers of Early Arthritis of the Knee (BEAK)
Division Chief C. Kent Kwoh, MD, studies genetic markers of the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA). The goal of his research is to identify key risk factors for development of radiographic knee OA (ROA) and OA structural disease progression, and to identify potential targets for preventative and/or therapeutic interventions.
Other research projects of Dr. Kwoh:
- Long-Term Significance of Pre-Radiographic Lesions in Persons at Risk for Knee Osteoarthritis
- A Pilot Trial to Assess Low-Intensity Ultrasound in Osteoarthritis
- Predictive Performance of Radiographic, MRI & Clinical Symptoms for Subsequent Knee Replacement
Osteoarthritis Treatment Disparities
Ernest Vina, MD, seeks to identify contributors to racial differences in the use of various ostearthritis (OA) therapies and to develop an educational tool that will improve understanding and use of these treatments for better quality and equality in how they are applied among disparate populations.
Rheumatoid Arthritis & Valley Fever
Through his research, Dominick Sudano, MD, seeks to examine patients suffering from Coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci or Valley Fever, an endemic fungal infection typically presenting as pulmonary infection and illness. Those rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients on disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) or biologic response modifiers (BRMs) are already at higher risk of more severe infection, but there are no management guidelines for such patients also suffering from Valley Fever.
Industry-Sponsored Clinical Trials
We are currently conducting a number of different industry-sponsored clinical trials.
Investigator-Initiated Studies (IIS)
Pharmaceutical companies often have a portion of their budget set aside for "investigator-initiated studies" (IIS), which are clinical, translational, or basic research studies designed and spearheaded by the investigator and not the company.
Current Clinical Trials
Clinical trials often involve a research study conducted to evaluate a medical procedure or medical product, such as a drug. Not all University of Arizona studies involve drugs or interventions. Some studies use surveys or evaluate medical records to find new and better ways to help people. Others recruit healthy subjects, or controls, to better evaluate and compare results with those of non-healthy subjects. You'll find some related studies under the following themes:
How to Participate
Whether you’re a potential candidate to participate as a patient or subject in the study, you would like to participate as a “healthy volunteer” for the control group or you’re a research or clinical professional interested in collaborating with the research team—simply contact the study coordinator listed for each individual clinical research study.