Newswise — The Vasculitis Foundation and Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Division of Rheumatology have launched the health system’s first Vasculitis Clinical Research Program. Vasculitis is an immune system disorder that causes destructive inflammation of the blood vessels, including arteries, veins and capillaries.

It is estimated about 1 in 3,300 people suffer from vasculitis. While there are several types of vasculitis, each type is categorized by the size of the blood vessel affected.

The Vasculitis Clinical Research Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital will provide comprehensive care for patients with vasculitis and supports clinical and translational research into the epidemiology and treatment of these diseases. The clinic will offer patients coordinated care by a variety of clinical specialists including pulmonary disease, renal disease, dermatology, otorhinolaryngology, and other disciplines involved in vasculitis care.

Karen Hirsch, President of the VF Board of Directors, says the new center exemplifies how organizations can work together. “The collaboration with Northwestern is an exciting new way that the Vasculitis Foundation is addressing the needs of those with vasculitis,” says Hirsch. “It is important for residents in the Chicagoland area to have this resources, and it will serve as a model for future collaborations.”

Dr. Amy Archer, rheumatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, was named director of the new Vasculitis Clinical Research Program recently.

“We know that early and accurate diagnosis is critical for avoiding permanent damage to vital organs and blood vessels affected by vasculitis. It’s imperative that patients have a comprehensive care center that can help accurately identify and treat the disease,” says Archer. “This unique collaboration allows us to grow a strong research and training program that will drive advancements in the treatment of this disease for our patients.”

About the Vasculitis FoundationCurrently celebrating its 30th Anniversary, the Vasculitis Foundation (VF) supports and empowers patients through education, awareness and research. Since 2001 the VF has funded over $2,000,000 to research the cause and treatment of vasculitis. The Research Program funds studies seeking the cause(s) of vasculitis, more effective treatments and a cure for vasculitis. The VF Medical Consultants are among the world's finest and most experienced doctors who care for patients and conduct research. The Vasculitis Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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