A new textbook is helping to enhance the international profile of the Arthritis Program at UHN while simultaneously shining light on a rapidly evolving disease.
Dr. Robert Inman, Director of the Spondylitis Program at Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) and Senior Scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, is one of the masterminds behind publication of the
Oxford Textbook of Axial Spondyloarthritis, which he co-edited with Dr. Joachim Sieper of the Charite University Hospital in Berlin, Germany.
"A book like this can help raise the level of awareness and sharpen the research focus. It can also improve the clinical confidence of a clinician," Dr. Inman says of the publication, adding that it is designed to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of Axial Spondyloarthritis.
Axial spondyloarthritis is an umbrella term that describes a range of chronic diseases associated with inflammatory arthritis of the spine.
"This is the first textbook dedicated to the subject of Axial Spondyloarthritis," Dr. Inman says. "It has a very multinational authorship and comes at a time when recognition of this disease entity is coming into its own."
More than 50 contributors
A total of 52 researchers and clinicians from around the world contributed to the book, among them several from TWH, including Dr. Dafna Gladman, a Psoriatic Arthritis expert, Spine Surgeon Dr. Raj Rampersaud, Physiotherapist Laura Passalent, and Dr. Nigil Haroon, who is Co-Director of the Spondylitis Program at UHN.
The textbook is designed to serve as a roadmap for the early diagnosis, recognition and treatment of the disease and to provide a detailed overview of new concepts of disease mechanisms specifically related to genetics, immunology, improved outcome measures and novel therapeutic targets.
"Back pain in the general population is so common now that it is important that clinicians have ready access to the latest knowledge," says Dr. Inman. The use of MRI, he adds, has given investigators much greater insight into inflammation in the sacroiliac joints, which anchor the spine in the pelvis.
The Spondylitis Program at Toronto Western program has taken a leadership role in the investigation and treatment of Axial Spondyloarthritis. The program has a high international profile, but one of Dr. Inman's goals for the textbook was to bring a global perspective on the disease.
"There remain parts of the world where this disease is relatively unrecognized because there is a lack of confidence in diagnosis and treatment."
'A great, knowledgeable group'
Dr. Inman credits a "fantastic" collaborative environment and the multidisciplinary team at TWH for advancing greater understanding of the disease worldwide.
"It's a great, knowledgeable group. I am constantly learning from my colleagues. It's also a lot of fun.
"To use the baseball analogy, you need different players with a variety of skill sets on the field to win a game. And that's what sets apart what we have here at UHN. We have a great team which is second to none on a global scale."