If one considers the research enterprise a spectrum
of investigational types, basic science would reside at one end and clinical studies at the other, with translational science somewhere
in the middle ground. NIAMS boasts a long line of clinical successes built on seminal studies of the past. Some examples involve:
- The development of better medications to treat arthritis
- The value of combination therapies for osteoporosis
• The effects of hormone therapy on bone health
- The use of immunosuppressive drugs against lupus nephritis
- The development of diagnostic methods and criteria for the blistering skin disease epidermolysis
- The usefulness of lumbar discectomy
- The discovery of a treatment for neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease.
As these examples illustrate, clinical research at NIAMS has significantly improved public health and promises to enhance quality of life even more. The institute will continue its commitment
to clinical research and to the training
necessary to ensure a cadre of investigators who will conduct such studies in the future.
“Initiatives to improve health care start with well-designed clinical trials that inform our patients about evidence-based diagnostic/treatment options. When presented with a diagnosis in which there are equally effective treatments, patient preferences and values need to be incorporated into the treatment decision process for true informed consent or ‘informed choice.’”
—Dr. James N. Weinstein, professor and chair of the department of orthopaedics, Dartmouth Medical SchoolDr.