Josef Smolen, MD, who is chair of the Division of Rheumatology at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria and chair of the second department of medicine at the Center for Rheumatic Diseases at Hietzing Hospital in Vienna, points out that despite the progress with biologic agents, “erosions by themselves will not affect physical function nearly as much as cartilage damage, which is really the driver of physical function. There is a lot to do in the respect of not only interfering with damage, but in getting repair going. At the end of the day, what we need to look at is the whole gestalt of the joint. Stopping erosions will not be enough if cartilage damage continues to progress.”
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2015
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As new discoveries unfold, maintaining the communication lines between the bench and the bedside will be key, says Dr. Nakamura.
As to the value of following basic research, Dr. Charles believes that understanding basic biology of the bone and the immune system linkage is “extraordinarily important for us as a community. The basic science mouse-model level, the human translational science level and the clinical trial level: all are important parts of the scientific enterprise. Understanding basic pathophysiology and mechanisms helps us understand new clinical findings, while unexpected clinical findings can and should send us back to the bench to explore new areas of research.”
Gretchen Henkel is a medical journalist based in California.
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