Baptist Health Brain & Spine Care Taking Part in Study to Treat Moderate-to-Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis
Miami & Boca Raton, FL – April 10, 2023 –Baptist Health Brain & Spine Care is working on a new study for people suffering from moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body. The research team at Baptist Health is led by co-investigators Justin Sporrer, M.D., director of functional neurosurgery at Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute, and Frank Vrionis, M.D., director of Marcus Neuroscience Institute, established at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health.
The study, named Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RESET-RA), is being done to test the effectiveness of a new device that stimulates the vagus nerve in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which could play a role in reducing inflammation. The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body, overseeing an array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion and heart rate. The device being used for the study on the vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is called the SetPoint System.
“I am honored to be at the forefront of such an important study that can potentially reduce symptoms in patients who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and give them a better quality of life”, said Dr. Sporrer. “Baptist Health has always given our physicians a platform to conduct important research that can change the way we treat patients for various diseases.”
During the study, Dr. Sporrer and Dr. Vrionis will implant the small SetPoint System device for participants enrolled in South Florida. Half of the participants will have their devices turned on, while the other half will not (the control group). After 12 weeks, all participants will have their devices turned on and be followed for about six months to measure whether the device can help reduce inflammation.
“Stimulating the vagus nerve with the SetPoint System to reduce inflammation could be a possible alternative to the medication options patients currently take to treat their issues for RA,” said Dr. Vrionis. “Being a part of this study is allowing our team to find new methods for those who don’t always respond well to medications that are available.”
In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, the overproduction or inappropriate production of certain cytokines by the body can result in the disease. Cytokines are proteins produced by cells in the body. Some are produced in excess in rheumatoid arthritis, where they're involved in inflammation and tissue destruction. Those who are diagnosed with RA currently manage their RA with a range of available medications such as steroids, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, biologics and disease-modifying agents.
About Baptist Health South Florida
Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.