The laboratory is focused on two general areas of interest. First, he is exploring the role of the complement system in normal immune and autoimmune responses. For example, his lab is investigating the role of the alternative pathway of complement during the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In addition, Dr. Holers is working to define the role of autoantibodies and the evolution of autoimmunity in the pre-clinical stage of RA. Dr. Holers is also the PI of the NIH-funded Denver Autoimmunity Center of Excellence (ACE), the co-founder of SERA (Studies of the Etiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis) and is a key participant in the NIH-funded Denver Autoimmunity Prevention Center, which is exploring the contributions of genetics and environmental exposures in the development of autoimmune disease.
His laboratory discovered the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) and participated in the purification, cloning and expression of this natural anti-inflammatory protein. IL-1Ra has received FDA approval for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and is finding increased use in other systemic inflammatory disorders.
Dr. Boackle is interested in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease, and has specifically focused on genes that may be involved in the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Through the identification of these genes, she hopes to develop novel treatments with better efficacy and less toxicity than those currently available. Her lab is also working to identify biomarkers that serve as surrogate markers for lupus disease activity to guide the treatment of individuals with SLE.
Dr. Striebich heads our clinical trials section and is currently pursuing mechanism-based clinical trials. Projects are underway investigating the efficacy and mechanisms of effect of new biologic agents in multiple autoimmune diseases including RA, SLE, psoriatic arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Dr. Striebich also acts as head of the Division's program entitled 'EPIC' (Every Patient Improving Care). This program is designed to maximize patients' contributions to the advancement of rheumatologic research.
Dr. West is involved with research into the central nervous system manifestations of SLE and the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric SLE, as well as multiple other clinical research projects. Dr. West also heads the fellowship program, and has won numerous national awards for his educational activities.
Dr. Briney currently is involved in clinical education of fellows at the Rheumatology clinics at both the University of Colorado Hospital and Denver Health. He has special interest in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of metabolic bone disease. In addition, Dr. Briney provides Rheumatologic care for the Native American community in the Four Corners region of Colorado.
As part of a collaborative effort with the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, is evaluating the role of genetics and environmental exposures on the development of rheumatoid arthrtis-related autoimmunity.