NYU Langone Joins NIH-Sponsored Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases Research Program

NYU Langone Joins NIH-Sponsored Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases Research Program
Credit: JodiJacobson/Getty Images

NYU Langone Health announced it has joined the Accelerating Medicines Partnership Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases (AMP AIM) program—a new research initiative from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—as a leading research center focused on finding new targets and treatments for these often-debilitating diseases.

Supported by more than $58 million in public and private funding, AIM marks and expansion of the AMP effort launched in 2014, which aimed to uncover the molecular pathways of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus. With the new funding, research will now also include psoriatic disease and Sjögren’s syndrome.

Jill Buyon, M.D., the Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan Professor of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine at NYU Longone will serve as contact principal investigator of the AMP AIM program’s lupus team. Jose U. Scher, MD, the Steere-Abramson Associate Professor of Medicine, will lead the program’s microbiome core and serve as co-PI of a psoriatic disease clinical team, and Peter M. Izmirly, MD, associate professor of medicine, will oversee a clinical site for the Sjögren’s syndrome team.

The AMP AIM program will pair rheumatologists, dermatologists, nephrologists, immunologists, and computational and systems biologists from NYU Langone and several other academic centers across the U.S. with the NIH, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, pharmaceutical companies, and nonprofit organizations.

The AMP AIM program’s microbiome core, called Micro-TeACH (Microbiome Technology and Analytic Center Hub) and led by Scher is a NYC-based hub that will expand a decade-long collaboration with the Clemente Lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and NYU Langone. It will incorporate intestinal, skin, and other tissue-related microbiome features to aid in the pathogenesis reconstruction for various autoimmune and immune mediated diseases.

The hub will help researchers interrogate the gut microbiome and its potential metabolic capacity to modulate anti-rheumatic drugs’ pharmacokinetics and response to therapy. In addition, the tools will enable an integration of the cutaneous and oral microbiome with tissue-derived spatial transcriptomics and single-cell technologies to better understand the triggers of inflammation and autoimmunity.

“The skin may have the code for who progresses, why, and how,” said Scher in a press release. “We want to find which cells that reside in the skin are being attracted—the term we use is homing—to the joints and produce and promote inflammation there. What’s in that code may help us adopt a desperately needed precision medicine approach.”

The psoriatic disease team co-lead by Scher is a coalition led by of dermatologists, rheumatologists, immunologists and epidemiologists from U of Rochester, Univ. of Michigan, UCSF and UPenn. Called ELLIPSS, (ELucidating the Landscape of Immunoendotypes in Psoriatic Skin and Synovium), patients with varying stages of psoriatic disease will undergo skin biopsies and joint synovium to help the researchers better understand the distinct functional and pathobiological mechanisms of the disease.

The new Sjögren’s effort has been dubbed STAMP for Sjögren’s Team for Accelerating Medicines Partnership and is led by Caroline Shiboski of the University of California, San Franscisco. Izmirly will join the team and recruit subjects from NYU Langone’s large outpatient practice, with a focus on those with lupus and Sjögren’s disease overlap.

“We have expertise in rheumatology, oral health, and ophthalmology, and will perform full recruitments of these subjects using the best practices established by the STAMP group,” Izmirly said in a statement. “By standardizing these protocols, we will be in a position to better understand the pathogenesis of SjD and the mechanisms of the disease’s progression, which will allow us to identify therapeutic targets and new biomarkers.”