The University of Alabama at Birmingham is establishing a Center of Research Translation to improve the health of an increasing number of patients with gout and hyperuricemia. The UAB CoRT will be funded by a five-year, $5.3-million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease, one of the National Institutes of Health.
"We use the theme 'from bench to bedside to backyard,' meaning we intend to take discoveries surrounding gout treatment or prevention from the laboratory to the patient to help them return to the everyday activities they enjoy," says Kenneth Saag, M.D., the Jane Knight Lowe Professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology and center co-director. "We're investigating several new drugs for the treatment of gout, and with the addition of the CoRT we will be able to significantly expand our scope."
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in blood and causes joint inflammation, most commonly in the big toe. It affects about 2 percent of Americans and is expected to increase as the U.S. population ages. It occurs more frequently in men than in women.
While the causes of gout are well known and treatments are available, large gaps exist in the quality of patient care. For example, gout is more common among African-Americans than Caucasians, yet little is known about the way environmental factors increase the risk in this minority population.
UAB CoRT researchers will work to better understand the real-world effectiveness of gout therapy on cardiovascular outcomes and the safety of treatment regimens and develop a virtual gout clinic to identify the best evidence-based practices in treatment.