The 2019 merger between NYU Langone Health and NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, New York, is yielding a significantly expanded rheumatology presence in clinical research, patient care, and medical education across the New York metropolitan region.
Clinical Trial Points Toward First-Ever Sjogren’s Syndrome Therapy
One new research initiative is aimed at addressing the lack of therapeutic options for Sjogren’s syndrome. “There’s a tremendous unmet need for a definitive therapy for the disease,” says Steven E. Carsons, MD, chief of NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology. “Practically all of the current successful biologics in rheumatic diseases have been tried in Sjogren’s and have failed.”
As part of its clinical research portfolio, NYU Winthrop Hospital is participating in an exciting multicenter trial evaluating the CD-40 antibody, recently named iscalimab, in treating Sjogren’s syndrome. Preliminary data suggest that iscalimab has a beneficial effect on systemic manifestations of the disease. Based on the European Sjogren’s syndrome disease activity index (ESSDAI), treatment with the antibody resulted in a mean reduction of 5.2 ESSDAI units over 24 weeks. “If the results hold up, this could represent the first biologic therapy ever approved for the disease,” Dr. Carsons says.
Based on promising results from the phase II study, researchers are expanding the trial’s patient cohort, and NYU Winthrop Hospital is actively seeking more patient referrals from across the New York region for potential enrollment.
NYU Winthrop Hospital Launches Women’s Health in Autoimmunity Program
NYU Langone’s Manhattan and Mineola locations have further strengthened their research and clinical ties through the recruitment of Julie Nusbaum, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine a former research fellow at NYU Langone. In her new role, Dr. Nusbaum is building a special Women’s Health in Autoimmunity Program.
During her three-year research fellowship at NYU Langone, Dr. Nusbaum collaborated with the Department of Population Health in studying the health of women with lupus. At NYU Winthrop Hospital, she is continuing that collaboration while forging new partnerships with the NYU Winthrop Hospital Research Institute and NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Division of Maternal–Fetal Medicine.
“We see an unmet need to reach out, identify, and proactively manage women patients with all forms of autoimmune disease,” Dr. Carsons says. Lupus is among the most prominent, and the new program will help women manage their health risks during conception and child bearing, as well as their maternal health during pregnancy.
NYU Long Island School of Medicine Welcomes First Class
In a major expansion of NYU Langone’s educational mission, the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology at NYU Winthrop Hospital is also playing a key role at NYU Long Island School of Medicine, where Dr. Carsons is serving as senior associate dean for translational science integration. The unique school, which offers full-tuition scholarships, welcomed its first class of 24 students in July 2019.
“The school is designed to be an accelerated three-year program aimed at producing primary care physicians who hopefully will stay in the health system and increase the primary care presence both on Long Island and throughout the region,” Dr. Carsons says. As a stand-alone three-year program with an integrated curriculum emphasizing primary care, he adds, the school represents an exciting new model for medical education in the United States.
The curriculum, with a year of preclinical sciences and two years of clinical rotations, is focusing on internal and community medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology, as well as general surgery. Given that proficiency in musculoskeletal medicine is of paramount importance for primary care physicians, the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology developed an integrated five-week block on musculoskeletal medicine, rheumatology, and dermatology. Elise Belilos, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine, is serving as the course director.