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Leveraging advanced research and deep clinical expertise to develop and test new treatments that can reduce the impact of arthritis, allergies and autoimmune diseases on patients and society.

Researcher conducting biomarker research in lab.

Exciting new medical advances that enable doctors to better diagnose and treat disease frequently grab national headlines. What’s not always as visible is the full breadth and depth of research that collectively plays a vital role in making these advances possible.

For nearly 30 years, the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center has been at the forefront of basic science and clinical research in rheumatology, allergy and immunology. The Center’s investigators conduct cutting-edge research in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune conditions, and food allergies. This work includes basic studies using cells and tissues to investigate disease mechanisms, population-based and clinical studies to uncover risk and predictive factors, clinical trials to bring new discoveries to the clinic, and community-based research to implement strategies to assist patients dealing with a variety of rheumatologic and allergic conditions. The Center’s investigators are passionate about research for a very important, yet simple reason: they are passionate about helping patients.

The UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center operates with the philosophy that a viable and effective research environment must be multi-dimensional. Its nationally renowned research scientists and clinicians regularly share data, insights and resources with colleagues across the UNC system, as well as with leading rheumatology, allergy and immunology colleagues throughout the world. Their collective goal is to advance the existing base of medical knowledge and bring forth significant benefits for society.

As just one example, the Center has been designated and has received funding from the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), as a “Core Center for Clinical Research” (CCCR), charged with serving as a hub for innovation, training and collaboration in order to help mitigate the public health impact of osteoarthritis and other RMDs, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and vasculitis. The CCCR aims to advance clinical care by optimizing the design, analysis, and interpretation of innovative clinical studies.

The CCCR features a Resource Core, which is specifically focused on Phenotyping and Precision Medicine.

In addition, the CCCR has launched clinical research projects, and initiated a monthly speaker series as well as a collaborative speaker series with the other eight NIAMS-funded CCCRs.

It has also has created Advisory, Brainstorming, and Consultative (ABC) Sessions. These ABC Sessions allow researchers to present to the members of the CCCR, who have a broad range of expertise in the many facets of research, and receive feedback and guidance on how to improve their grant applications, protocols, analysis, and manuscripts.