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 We Are Helping Researchers To:

  • Design, implement and analyze innovative studies of rheumatic diseases
    • Significantly improve understanding of disease mechanisms
      • Inform best strategies for prevention and treatment

Leading investigators share input regarding new research.


Addressing a Unique and Urgent Problem

Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs) are a leading cause of disability in the U.S. They are also particularly difficult to address. Due to the fact that they encompass a very broad range of heterogeneous medical conditions (including more than 100 types of arthritis alone), RMDs present a unique challenge because effective studies into their causes, prevention and treatment must take into account a very large number of phenotypic characteristics.

If not properly taken into consideration, these phenotypic differences can result in the testing of interventions designed to address specific mechanisms of action in the “wrong” patients. Therefore, successful treatment for RMDs needs to be targeted to, and tested in, specific subgroups or subtypes that share distinct underlying pathobiological, psychosocial and pain mechanisms consistent with the goal of precision medicine.

A “Precision” Approach is Needed

To address these unique challenges, UNC’s Core Center For Clinical Research (CCCR) is building upon the transformative efforts of the Thurston Arthritis Center’s renowned Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Center (MCRC), to advance clinical care and public health efforts by optimizing the design, analysis and interpretation of innovative clinical studies. While the CCCR will have a focus on osteoarthritis (OA), a particular strength for our team, the analytical methods used for phenotyping and precision medicine will also be applied to other RMDs that are strengths within our research community, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and vasculitis.

Providing a Robust Foundation for Clinical Research

The UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center’s CCCR is composed of three main “Core” sections of expertise, which are built upon a deep bench of experts offering cross-disciplinary resources:

  • Administrative Core: Provides leadership, oversight, coordination, evaluation and general administrative support for all CCCR activities.
  • Methodology Core:  Provide a comprehensive and integrated set of RMD-focused services to optimize the quality, efficiency and innovation of the CCCR research community.
  • Phenotyping and Precision Medicine Resource Core: Provides services that will add value to and optimize the design and implementation of clinical studies, as well as develop innovative strategies to maximize the use and success of clinical phenotyping and precision medicine in RMDs, with a particular focus on OA.

To initiate the process of requesting information, data, and/or collaboration from UNC’s CCCR, please complete and submit this form.