Rheumatology Research

The Division of Rheumatology, with its home at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), is widely recognized for its contributions to research defining the underlying mechanisms of autoimmune and musculoskeletal conditions. Throughout its distinguished history, the Division of Rheumatology has taken the approach that progress in understanding systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and other rheumatic diseases will move most rapidly toward new and more effective therapies if basic research is combined with research driven by the patient. Through its basic and clinical research programs, patient registries and disease-targeted research centers, the Division of Rheumatology is well organized for multidisciplinary studies of the genetic and immunologic factors that result in disease, along with clinical studies of novel interventions and outcomes.

Eleven full-time physician scientists, along with 15 clinically-based rheumatologists and PhD scientists, collaborate to characterize molecular and cellular mechanisms that are features of many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, as well as those mechanisms that define patient subsets. Rheumatology investigators have been leaders in research that takes a personalized medicine approach, through identification of biomarkers of disease activity or of organ involvement. They have identified novel therapeutic targets, including components of the complement system, type I interferon, and Fc receptors in SLE, and cell signaling proteins in RA. Rheumatology investigators have collaborated with Weill Cornell cardiologists to study the cardiovascular complications of rheumatic diseases with the goal of defining the mediators that are responsible for this important comorbidity.

New insights from basic research are translated to testing of novel therapies by the Division’s clinical investigators. We currently are involved in clinical/drug trials in a broad range of musculoskeletal and autoimmune disorders, and we are one of very few centers internationally studying the clinical effect of the kinase inhibitor Gleevec in a phase 2a study of patients with scleroderma.

Our comprehensive approach to research and focus on achieving the best possible clinical outcomes for patients is exemplified by The Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERT) Grant: "This peer-reviewed federal program was created in response to a legislative mandate to conduct state-of-the-art research to increase awareness and monitor risks of new and improved uses of drugs, biological products, and devices." In collaboration with the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell, HSS is collecting clinical and outcomes data from patients undergoing knee, hip and shoulder replacements. To date, through the close collaboration of orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists and clinical investigators, three thousand patients have been entered and will be followed for many years to determine the impact of their surgery on health outcomes.

As an active partner in the Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center and as a leader in rheumatic disease research, the Division of Rheumatology continues to improve the care of patients with autoimmune and musculoskeletal diseases.


Administrative Director
Department of Medicine and
Division of Rheumatology

Hospital for Special Surgery
535 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021
Tel: 646.797.8487
Fax: 212.774.7077

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