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Clinical Trials & Research

Research Spotlight

Montefiore is the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. This unique partnership brings together expertise across disciplines and yields an extensive portfolio of biomedical research, with an emphasis on translating basic science in the lab to pioneering treatments and therapies. Montefiore physicians are discovering novel solutions that advance the future of healthcare and treatments:

Exploring the Link Between Chronic Kidney Disease and Muscle Wasting

Kidney dialysis eliminates waste and unwanted water from the blood, but it may also promote inflammation and induce muscle breakdown; increased inflammation after dialysis initiation may promote muscle wasting and decline.
Muscle wasting, a condition often associated with chronic kidney disease, drastically reduces patients’ quality of life and increases their mortality risk.  Complicating matters for many of those who come to us for care is that there is no known treatment for this loss of lean body mass.  But answers may not be too far off.
Montefiore Einstein researcher, Matthew K. Abramowitz, MD, is currently investigating how inflammation affects changes in patients’ skeletal muscle structure and function as they begin kidney dialysis.
Dr. Abramowitz’s study of 100 patients over a five-year period—one of the first research studies to follow patients as they transition into dialysis—will:

  • Examine muscle wasting at biochemical, physiologic, and clinical levels;
  • Define how inflammation relates to changes in skeletal muscle physiology, lean body mass, and physical function in patients who have not yet begun dialysis; and
  • Determine how transitioning to dialysis affects these parameters.

Dr. Abramowitz notes that it is often difficult to predict whether starting dialysis will improve muscle wasting and functional impairment in a particular patient, especially those who are older. However, by focusing on the role of inflammation in this process, his research hopes to identify parameters that will help develop better prognostic tools and, ultimately, new treatment options for geriatric patients.

Relief for Adults with Aspirin-Sensitive Asthma

Elina Jerschow, MDThe asthma rate among adults in the Bronx is more than twice the national average. In addition, about 10 percent of the adult asthmatics and 40 percent of patients with asthma and nasal polyps, are also dealing with Aspirin-Exacerbated Respiratory Disease or AERD—sensitivity to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen and naproxen.

To diagnose the AERD, patients take part in a low-dose aspirin challenge. Currently considered the gold-standard diagnostic test, the aspirin challenge can induce asthma attacks in 40 to 85% of the people who undergo it. 

A new study by Elina Jerschow, MD, Director of the Montefiore Drug Desensitization Program, aims to develop a safer, quicker, more cost-efficient method of identifying aspirin-sensitive asthma and explain the underlying causes of AERD, which has created a barrier in developing effective treatments.

Dr. Jerschow’s study will compare the biochemical changes in the body of aspirin in AERD patients to those of aspirin-tolerant asthmatics. Her protocol, conducted on 25-30 participants ranging in age from 25-62 will use a low-dose aspirin challenge to avoid allergic reactions.

The low-dose aspirin challenge begins by giving the patient a small amount of aspirin. This approach usually does not lead to a dangerous allergic reaction, but may elicit changes in blood and urine chemistry that help to diagnose AERD. Appropriate diagnosis of AERD is a critical part of the process, as aspirin desensitization works for AERD patients but not for aspirin-tolerant asthmatics.

Results of this study have the potential to advance understanding of the underlying mechanism of AERD and develop a safer diagnostic test. 

This project is supported by a KL2 award granted by the Harold and Muriel Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Einstein and Montefiore .