The Clinical Research Programs at NIAMS conducts patient-based investigation in the areas of rheumatic, skin, muscular and inflammatory diseases, and train the next generation of physician-scientists and clinician-investigators in these areas. As part of the NIH intramural research program, the program is uniquely positioned to perform clinical and translational studies in the NIH Clinical Center, the world’s largest hospital and outpatient facility devoted exclusively to clinical investigation. The NIAMS has a long and successful history of clinical investigation into the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatic diseases dating back to the 1960’s, with emphases on systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory muscle disease, and hereditary periodic fever syndromes, now recognized to be part of the spectrum of autoinflammatory diseases, a term coined at NIH. These studies stem from the interests of the clinical and basic investigators in the Institute as well as through aligning with the strengths of the NIH Clinical Center, including the study of rare diseases, innovative proof-of concept (PoC) clinical trials, and longitudinal clinical studies.
The NIAMS clinical research program, in partnership with other NIH intramural research programs, currently focuses its research in the areas of autoinflammatory diseases, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, spondylarthropathies, outcomes research, vasculitis, myositis, and selected bone and dermatological diseases.
Translational Research: The Bridge Between Basic Research and Clinical Disease
A goal of clinical investigation is to bridge information gained from laboratory research with that afforded by clinical experience. Carefully designed observational and interventional studies provide opportunities to verify basic biological understanding of disease. These studies then bring back to the laboratory new insights into the normal functioning of the organ and cellular systems underlying human health and disease.
The NIAMS Clinical Research Program includes ACGME-certified Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program, a joint Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program with Childrens’ National Medical Center in Washington, DC, and Advanced basic, translational clinical research training in Rheumatology and Dermatology through the NIAMS Scholars in Translational Research Program.
NIAMS Community Health Clinic
In addition to its disease-focused clinical research programs, NIAMS operates a community health clinic which provides specialist care and screening for participation in clinical research studies for underserved patients in the local area with serious rheumatological conditions. The clinic is located on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Clinical Program is engaged in several observational studies to understand the natural history of several rheumatic diseases and to test therapeutic interventions. For more information or to access a Protocol, please search the database of clinical studies being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center.