Rheum News

Decades of dedication lead to drug trial for rare, fatal illness

Old cancer drug may treat devastating blood vessel disease

by Tamara BhandariJune 19, 2018

John P. Atkinson, MD, (right) talks with patient Kim Morey, of Bentonville, Ark., a participant in the first clinical trial evaluating a potential drug therapy for a rare, fatal disease called retinal vasculopathy with cerebral leukodystrophy (RVCL). Atkinson, who directs the RVCL Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is leading the trial and has played a key role in research to describe the disease and develop a genetic test to identify it.

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Center for Advanced Medicine – South County Opening April 19

Mar 11, 2016

Patients in south St. Louis County and southern Illinois will soon have access to a higher level of care closer to home. The Center for Advanced Medicine – South County is opening April 19. The new outpatient facility jointly owned by Barnes-Jewish and Washington University is located near the Siteman Cancer Center at I-55 and Butler Hill Road.

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January 4, 2016

$4.1 million Clayco Foundation gift aids research into rare disease

By Kristina Sauerwein

Clayco’s chairman and CEO, Robert G. Clark, along with the company’s partners, have committed $4.1 million to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to advance research into a rare blood vessel disease that results in death five to 10 years following diagnosis.

The gift – which has been committed through The Clayco Foundation — will fund research in the laboratory of John P. Atkinson, MD, the Samuel B. Grant Professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Rheumatology. Atkinson, who treats patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, was part of a team that originally identified the disease — cerebroretinal vasculopathy (CRV) — in 1988 and, in 2007, the genetic defect that causes it. The disease is caused by the progressive loss of small blood vessels in the brain and retinas.

Additionally, The Clayco Foundation is donating $25,000 to support an international CRV symposium sponsored by the School of Medicine.

Rare diseases such as CRV often receive scant attention and modest research funding, despite the fact that research into such disorders often leads to findings and treatments relative to more common diseases.

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