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Cell Biology-based Mechanisms of Disease Research

In addition to studies of basic immune mechanisms, an understanding of the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases will require improved knowledge of the function of individual cells. We know that interactions between macrophages and fibroblasts play important roles in joint inflammation. Studies of isolated cells derived from the joints of patients with arthritis allowed Dr. Brenner to discover that cadherin-11 plays an essential role in joint inflammation. Inhibition of cadherin-11 was shown to prevent arthritis in an animal model. This novel target for therapeutic intervention was developed as a result of basic research into the function of synovial fibroblasts.