Autoimmune Disease Research Center

A collective approach to autoimmune diseases

Another problem is that diseases of autoimmune origin are allocated to different medical specialties based on the organ system immediately affected. Autoimmune diseases of the blood, for example, are treated by hematologists, those of the nervous system by neurologists, those of the endocrine system by endocrinologists and those of the joints and muscles by rheumatologists. This compartmentalization has hampered communication among physicians and scientists interested in autoimmune diseases. Yet the basic principles governing one autoimmune disease are applicable to others.

Common threads uniting the autoimmune diseases are the presence of an autoimmune response based on cumulative genetic risk factors, combined with an environmental contribution (infectious, chemical, physical, or other). Equally important, innovative treatments applied to one autoimmune disease may be useful in others. To seize the new opportunities for moving research and treatment forward, leading investigators are calling for a collective approach to the autoimmune diseases. The answer has been the creation of the Johns Hopkins Autoimmune Disease Research Center.

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