Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects individuals of all ages and is characterized by inflammation of the lining, or synovial membrane, of the joint. Chronic inflammation leads to cartilage and bone erosion, and subsequently, joint deformity. It is a progressive, debilitating disease that causes long-term complications and co-morbidities, include cardiovascular disease, infections, depression and anxiety, and malignancies.
There is significant impact on the quality of life of the individual with RA. Current therapeutic approaches achieve remission, but often fail to control disease progression over the long-term, or to prevent complications. In addition, how each individual responds to a particular drug regimen can vary significantly, be unpredictable, and can often leave the patient susceptible to other infections.
Since the etiology of RA is complex, involving synergistic interactions between genetics and environment, the study of this disease is amenable to the systems immunology approaches developed here at Stanford University. ITI investigators have pioneered these novel approaches and adapted them to exploring the immunological mechanisms underlying not only RA, but also other autoimmune disease. As a result, we have made significant strides in the understanding of RA, which has allowed the use of more personal and directed treatment plans for better disease management today and the elimination of disease in the future.More About Rheumatoid Arthritis
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means the body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. The response of the body causes inflammation in and around the joints, which then may lead to a destruction of the skeletal system. Learn More »Our Faculty