Vivian Bykerk, MD, associate attending rheumatologist at HSS, associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College discusses new treatments in inflammatory disease.
What are some new directions in treating inflammatory diseases that you’re particularly excited about?
So, the first, I guess, and it’s not that new, is early diagnosis. It’s a way to classify the disease sooner than later, having a blood test to be able to do so in a number of people, though not all. Also, part of it is having people understand that the expectation is to get people into remission in the first year, and then, keep them there, as sort of new standards and new guidelines. Another part of it is the translational side of it. There’s a huge effort to now try and understand how the tissue in the rheumatoid joint is functioning in terms of cell-cell interactions, and sending things in and out of the blood to get a new understanding of how the tissue functions to perpetuate the disease and even start the disease. We don’t think it starts in the joint. We think it starts in the mucosa and something travels to the joint, but we don’t know why. And then a whole interaction of cells comes, and they have a party, basically, and they start to work with each other to build what is more like a benign tumor in the joint, and that, in and of itself, is very destructive.