History, Mission, Distinctions
Established in 1977, the UAB Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Center was one of the first arthritis research centers in the nation supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The Center has been federally funded since its establishment year and is now the only center in the nation focusing on adult arthritis, autoimmune and rheumatic diseases and supported by both P30 and P60 awards from NIAMS. With the inception of the UWIRC program and its philosophy of interdisciplinary research and facilitated by the recruitment of the current Center Director to UAB in 1997, the Center undertook strategic initiatives to develop programs in translational human genetics, in outcomes and population-based research, and in prevention of musculoskeletal injury to complement its more established strengths in immunology and autoimmunity. These initiatives have involved multiple schools at UAB (SOPH, SHP, SOO, SOE, SON, SOD, SOM) and institutions across the country (OMRF, Wake Forest, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Emory, MUSC and others) as the Center has developed multiple collaborative programs and shared facilities. These initiatives also reached out to a broad funding base of interdisciplinary, multi-investigator awards from both the federal (NIAMS, NIAID, CDCP, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)) and non-federal sources (Lupus Research Institute, Alliance for Lupus Research, Arthritis Foundation).
In June, 2008, the UA Board of Trustees approved the ‘comprehensive’ designation for the Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Autoimmunity Center (CAMAC), to reflect its continuing multi-disciplinary growth and comprehensive impact on UAB and our patients, as well as on the national research agenda. The CAMAC’s mission, -- to generate new understanding and apply all knowledge to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with arthritis, musculoskeletal, and autoimmune diseases, -- includes the integration of fundamental research with clinical care, the development and application of new diagnostics and therapeutics, the education of the public about arthritis, musculoskeletal, and autoimmune diseases, and the training of future investigators and health care professionals. Driven by our increasing understanding of the broad reach of autoimmunity and its underlying mechanisms in inflammation and immunology, the Center will further embrace these disciplines and integrate them into the fabric of fundamental discovery and translational investigation and of delivery of these advances in diagnosis and therapeutics for patient care.
- The highest-ranking division in the UAB Department of Medicine for nearly two decades.
- Top rated hospital in Birmingham, AL, by U.S. News and World Report in 2012.
- Hosts twenty-one (21) of the 2012 “Top Doctors in the USA” (Allman, Atkinson, Bridges, Chatham, Curtis, Danila, Dunlap, Elson, Fessler, Hughes, Hunt, Julian, Kimberly, Korf, Mannon, Morgan, Ness, Saag, Sanders, Singh, Spalding);
- The rheumatology program, ranked 11th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, is the highest ranked clinical program at UAB.
- One of two Centers of Excellence in rheumatoid arthritis in the nation (assessed by Incenter Strategies, Inc).
- The top-ranked, peer-reviewed recipient of the Autoimmunity Center of Excellence distinction in the origination of the program.
- Central in defining the role of death receptors in cancer in autoimmunity.
- Identified the first non-MHC gene meeting all criteria for a disease susceptibility gene for SLE (FcRIIIA).
- First in the nation to use a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Has been pivotally involved in the development of anti-TNF therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Has been central to our understanding of the minimization of toxicity of methotrexate in treatment of rheumatic diseases using concomitant folic acid.