Newswise — LOS ANGELES (June 19, 2020) - Nationally recognized rheumatology expert Francesco Boin, MD, has been appointed director of the division of Rheumatology and director of the new Scleroderma Program at Cedars-Sinai. Boin is an accomplished and widely published investigator of autoimmune diseases, with a reputation for clinical excellence and a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. 

"The best care we can offer our patients is tied to cutting-edge research. Dr. Boin is uniquely qualified to develop both a top translational science and clinical research center as well as a treatment and consultation program for people with rheumatological diseases," said Paul W. Noble, MD, chair of the department of Medicine. 

Boin comes to Cedars-Sinai from the University of California, San Francisco, where he established the UCSF Scleroderma Center and served as its director. Previously, Boin was the director of the Translational Research program at the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center. A native of Italy, he earned his medical degree cum laude from the University of Padua School of Medicine. 

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that causes an overproduction of collagen. Symptoms can range from changes in the skin or muscle to the hardening of life-sustaining organs. An estimated 300,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. 

"It is the epitome of complex autoimmune rheumatic disorders because it can affect any organ in the body. Scleroderma is a chronic illness that can place an incredible burden on patients and their families over a long period of time," said Boin.

"At Cedars-Sinai, we will focus on investigating the mechanism that triggers the development of this autoimmune disease in order to develop better ways of treating it. The goal is to finally find a cure for an illness that can be so dreadful," said Boin.

The Scleroderma Program will be part of the new Kao Autoimmunity Institute, whose mission is to advance treatment and research of rheumatologic diseases. The institute was created last fall with a $20 million gift from Dr. and Mrs. Min H. Kao and the Kao Family Foundation. 

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Francesco Boin to the new institute at Cedars-Sinai and excited for his leadership of the Scleroderma Program. He is an accomplished clinician of the highest caliber and deeply committed to his patients and their integrative care. We look forward to the positive impact and excellence he will bring to the lives of scleroderma patients," said Min H. Kao, PhD.

Boin describes the Kao family’s gift as a game-changer in the treatment of rheumatological disease. 

"There is nothing like this in the country and we have an opportunity to create a strong foundation for a program that will grow for years to come," said Boin. 

With a practice dedicated to patients with autoimmune diseases, Boin emphasizes that the best patient care is multidisciplinary.

"The key to managing these illnesses is to create a program for patients where we facilitate their care through a network of specialty physicians who understand the impact autoimmune diseases can have on the body. Cardiologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, dermatologists and other specialists will all contribute to the development of best practices for treating scleroderma," said Boin.