Saira Sheikh, MD, pursues unique, “next generation” clinical trials focusing on direct molecular pathways to find new ways to treat lupus

Innovative approaches to research may lead to changes in the way this disease is treated in the future.

Saira Sheikh, MD, pursues unique, “next generation” clinical trials focusing on direct molecular pathways to find new ways to treat lupus  click to enlarge Saira Sheik, MD

Historically, treatment options for lupus have been limited to medications borrowed from other disease states such as arthritis, cancer, and organ transplant – to name a few.

To pursue a more direct treatment approach, clinical trials being conducted at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center (TARC) are exploring novel and innovative therapies that specifically target molecular pathways involved in the pathogenesis of lupus.  In addition, they provide hope and options for patients who are refractory to currently available therapies.  The goal is to develop highly targeted approaches tailored to treat the specific manifestations of this very heterogeneous disease with fewer side effects.

“We are exploring very direct, specific and innovative approaches that we hope will change the way lupus is treated, and ultimately transform the lives of our patients,” said Saira Sheikh, MD, Director of the TARC Clinical Trials Program.  

In addition to lupus, examples of TARC’s core areas of clinical and research expertise include: environmental, stinging insect, drug and food allergies; asthma; urticaria and angioedema; immunodeficiency; osteoarthritis; rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis; gout and other crystal arthropathies; vasculitis; spondyloarthropathies; scleroderma; Sjogren’s syndrome; and many others. 

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