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The mission and approach of the Samara Jan Turkel Clinical Center for Pediatric Autoimmune Diseases has been associated with other programs and clinics over the years in order to most effectively serve the specific needs of our patients.

The Kawasaki Disease Program: The Kawasaki Disease Program serves as a national and international resource for parents and physicians. We are one of the premier programs in the world that brings together experts in rheumatology and cardiology to understand and treat Kawasaki disease (KD).

Dr. Mary Beth Son and Dr. Robert Sundel have also pioneered novel anti-inflammatory approaches now benefitting children on six continents. During the past 10 years, they have provided care for more than 500 hospitalized children diagnosed with KD. Now, our experts in KD are also putting their insights to work treating MIS-C cases.

Some of the advances the Kawasaki Disease Program is making include:

  • devising risk scores to determine which children are likeliest to develop the most severe cardiac consequences of KD
  • demonstrating that lower socioeconomic status is associated with delayed treatment, prolonged hospital length of stay, and increased risk of large/giant coronary artery aneurysms. This work is important in suggesting the need for novel approaches to diagnosis for children living in low-income neighborhoods.
  • using insights gleaned from KD to identify and to treat the immune dysregulation triggered by COVID-19, including MIS-C
  • creating clinical algorithms to diagnose and treat children with MIS-C, which have been shared internationally. These guidelines will soon be published on OPENPediatrics for easy accessibility to clinicians around the globe. We have also created an algorithm for triage of MIS-C patients in the Emergency Department.
  • investigating additional genetic risk factors for MIS-C
  • continuing to support children well beyond their acute illness through integrated outpatient care tailored to their specific needs

Integrated Lupus Clinic: Our Lupus Clinic, established in 2019, focuses on patient care and research for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which can often be more severe in children than adults. Our team includes rheumatologists, nephrologists, nurses, and a social worker who all work together to decrease disease activity and improve clinical outcomes in patients with childhood-onset SLE. In our first six months in operation, we saw 90 lupus patients.

The Lupus Clinic’s efforts include:

  • advancing quality improvement practices and clinical algorithms for better patient care
  • creating a repository of information and samples from patients with lupus to further our understanding of what causes this disease, how it progresses, and how best to treat it
  • studying and addressing inequities in health outcomes for Black and Hispanic children and other underserved populations with SLE
  • working with community advocates for children with lupus to highlight the need for better tools to understand disease severity and progression
  • providing coordinated, comprehensive care to decrease disease activity and improve clinical outcomes in patients with childhood onset
  • identifying and assessing biomarkers in patients with very early stage lupus to determine the risk of disease progression
  • developing tools to monitor long-term outcomes for patients as they transition to adulthood

Multiple Autoimmunity and Immunodeficiency (MAID) Clinic: The Multiple Autoimmunity and Immunodeficiency Clinic focuses on the care of children with rare and potentially fatal disorders involving autoimmunity, autoinflammation, and immunodeficiency. We serve as a hub to unite subspecialists from rheumatology, immunology, hematology, bone marrow transplantation, neurology, gastroenterology, pulmonary, and nephrology in order to treat each patient’s many needs in the most comprehensive way.

The MAID Clinic’s accomplishments include:

  • identifying more than 20 new disorders involving childhood autoimmune disorders and inflammation in 2019-20
  • discovering the unique pathways that allow the development of these diseases. Such insights enable us to use existing biologic therapies (a treatment made from a living organism) to effectively treat the conditions.