Alice in Wonderland may come to mind as you read this issue of LEAP, because we are moving from the large to the small, and back again: A rheumatic disease is big, and its effect can be devastating. However, a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, or Sjögren’s is, in fact, multiple diseases, each slightly different.
For too long, doctors treating rheumatic diseases have had to base their management on instinct and experience.
The problem is that each physician has a limited experience – which means that many times we basically had to guess at how to treat a specific patient, using trial and error to find out what might work best.
In this issue of LEAP you can read about our precision approach to an increasingly common illness, gout, to a rare illness linked to Sjögren’s, and to cancer patients who are developing some autoimmune-mediated complications. And we are especially excited to share with you a tremendous breakthrough in understanding how rheumatoid arthritis begins.
This issue of Leap, although autoimmunity is on the cover, is actually about the many points of connection here in the Division of Rheumatology. First, of course, is our connection to our patients. It’s not just physicians, nurses, and staff. It’s also our scientists, working to discover how these diseases start and how they might be stopped.
Please see the first issue of LEAP – a hot off the press magazine about the Division of Rheumatology at Johns Hopkins. In these pages you will learn more about who we are and what we’re all about. Enclosed are stories and images about the talented staff, postdoctoral fellows and faculty who make up our team.