A new five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will provide infrastructure to scientists and investigators at Northwestern University to support, accelerate, and improve the quality and impact of clinical research aimed at preventing or treating rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions.
The funding, from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), supports the creation of the Core Center for Clinical Research at Northwestern University (CCCR). NIAMS created this grant specifically to condense the time between an investigator conceiving of a way to prevent or treat someone with rheumatic or musculoskeletal conditions and that intervention being incorporated into patient and population care. Rheumatic conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, other types of arthritis, lupus, systemic sclerosis/scleroderma, and vasculitis. Musculoskeletal conditions include any conditions that affect the joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and injury to these tissues.
Dr. Leena Sharma, internal medicine – rheumatology, will lead a team of coinvestigators to create the CCCR. The CCCR’s work will focus on prevention strategy and intervention development to create lifestyle, behavioral, medical, and rehabilitative solutions for individuals with or at risk for these conditions. These conditions affect a very large segment of the U.S. population. For example, an estimated 21 million Americans have diagnosed osteoarthritis, just one of the conditions that the CCCR targets. Considering just the knee, among Americans 55 years and older, 40 percent have frequent knee pain or radiographic knee osteoarthritis. In older individuals, knee osteoarthritis is responsible for as much chronic disability as cardiovascular disease.
The Center will support studies of persons throughout the lifespan, from childhood through old age, with the overarching goal of improving outcomes for those persons at risk for these conditions or who are already afflicted.