Collaborating our way to a cure

| Steve Bieler

“I wear a million hats,” says Jose U. Scher, M.D., and he’s not kidding. The hard-working rheumatologist can turn up almost anywhere at NYU Langone Medical Center. He’s an assistant professor as well as director of NYU Langone’s Arthritis Clinic, Psoriatic Arthritis Center and the Microbiome Center for Rheumatology and Autoimmunity. When he’s not running everything, Scher has somehow found the time to publish 78 papers. 

In fact, when we spoke with him by phone, he was racing across campus to his next appointment.

Scher has spent years analyzing the relationship between bacteria and inflammatory diseases. He is best known in the NPF community for his ideas about “gut bugs” – the collection of microbes in the human body that might play a role in protecting us from inflammation. It was his April 2015 study in Arthritis and Rheumatology that found decreased levels of some kinds of microbes in people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Some of these microbes were specifically decreased in PsA.

Scher speaks quickly and excitedly about biomarkers for psoriatic arthritis, the importance of data and drawing in scientists from other disciplines. “How can you have the most number of smart people tackling these questions?” he asks. “We need computational minds. Individually, we’re not that smart. We need help.”

In his quest to help find a diagnostic test and eventually a cure for PsA, Scher builds on his background working at the intersection of rheumatic diseases, immunology, microbiology and computational analytics. He emphasizes the need for a common framework and common tools for all these researchers to be able to communicate with each other about their data. “In the end it’s numbers,” Scher says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re working with bugs, cells, cytokines, it’s all numbers.” 

Someday, Scher and his passion for numbers and his multidisciplinary approach might help us build the diagnostic test we’ve always lacked for PsA. All of the smart people all over the world working toward this goal will help us get there, with gut bugs or without them. 

Jose U. Scher, M.D.

You can help us bring that day closer by supporting the PsA Diagnosis Project. Many diseases have diagnostic tests. Psoriatic arthritis is not one of them. This means that PsA can exist in the body, unchecked, for years, if not decades, before it’s disagnosed and treatment can begin. Sadly, that delayed diagnosis can cause irreverisible damage. The PsA Diagnosis Project is our commitment to funding the research that will cure PsA, starting with a diagnostic test. 

Give to the PsA Diagnosis Project

We invite you to commit to cure. Help us support the work of researchers like Jose U. Sher who will someday develop a diagnostic test for PsA.

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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