NYU Langone Joins NIH’s Quest for Sjögren’s Treatments

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by Lindsey Shapiro PhD |

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NYU Langone Health is joining with a National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored program aimed at understanding disease mechanisms and developing new treatments for autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome.

The program, called Accelerating Medicines Partnership Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases (AMP AIM), began last year in an effort to expand and accelerate research on autoimmune disorders. It is supported by $58 million in private and public funding.

The new partnership will pair experts from NYU Langone and other academic centers with the NIH, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, pharmaceutical companies, and nonprofit organizations to speed the discovery of new therapeutic targets.

A clinical site for Sjögren’s will be overseen by Peter M. Izmirly, MD, an associate professor in medicine at NYU Langone. Izmirly will join the existing Sjögren’s Team for Accelerating Medicines Partnership (STAMP), led by Caroline Shiboski, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Besides symptom management, there are few Sjögren’s treatment options, highlighting the pressing need to understand the mechanisms driving the  condition.

The STAMP group, according to NYU Langone, is well-positioned to work toward this goal by designing clinical research protocols to recruit, enroll, examine disease characteristics, and gather tissue samples from people with and without Sjögren’s.

Izmirly will help recruit patients from NYU Langone’s outpatient clinics, focusing specifically on those who have both Sjögren’s and lupus, another autoimmune condition.

“We have expertise in rheumatology, oral health, and ophthalmology, and will perform full recruitments of these subjects using the best practices established by the STAMP group,” Izmirly said in a university press release.

“By standardizing these protocols, we will be in a position to better understand the [disease processes] of Sjögren’s disease and the mechanisms of the disease’s progression, which will allow us to identify therapeutic targets and new biomarkers,” he added.

The Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) was founded in 2014. The program focused initially on understanding the mechanisms underlying rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The program was expanded last year to include other immune-mediated conditions, such as Sjögren’s and psoriasis, through its AMP AIM initiative.

NYU Langone clinicians will be involved in several of these new projects, including research into SLE-associated kidney disease, the relationship between the microbiome and autoimmune diseases, and disease mechanisms in psoriasis.

“The Division of Rheumatology, and its partnership with NYU Langone’s Judith and Stewart Colton Center for Autoimmunity, has a proven record of excellence in research and clinical care,” said Steven B. Abramson, MD.

Abramson is the executive vice president and vice dean for education, faculty, and academic affairs, chief academic officer at NYU Langone, and chair of NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine.

“As leaders in this nationwide endeavor, we now have an opportunity to bring our world-class researchers to the forefront of the fight against autoimmune and inflammatory diseases,” Abramson added.