Translational Autoinflammatory Diseases Section
Established in 2016
Raphaela T. Goldbach-Mansky, M.D., M.H.S. (She/Her/Hers)
Chief, Translational Autoinflammatory Diseases Section
Major Areas of Research
- Study pathogenesis and immune-dysregulatory mechanisms of interleukin (IL)-1-mediated autoinflammatory diseases including NOMID, DIRA, and the IL-1/IL-18-mediated disease NLRC4-MAS
- Study pathogenesis and immune-dysregulatory mechanisms of Type I interferon (IFN)-mediated autoinflammatory diseases including CANDLE and SAVI
- Identify molecular and genetic causes (using next-generation sequencing methods) of yet undifferentiated autoinflammatory diseases
- Translate the knowledge gained from the pathogenesis evaluations into finding drug targets for better treatment approaches
- Implement pilot treatment studies with targeted therapeutics to evaluate efficacy (control of organ inflammation and prevention of organ damage) and drug safety
Autoinflammatory diseases are a group of rare immune dysregulatory syndromes that present with unexplained fevers, rashes, joint pain, and inflammation in multiple organs, such as the central nervous system, the eyes, inner ears, bones, fat, blood vessels, lungs and muscles. Many of the disease symptoms present very early in life and patients do not have infections or malignacies. The discovery of single gene mutations, which modify the regulation of inflammatory pathways that are triggered by exogenous and endogenous "danger" molecules, has provided new concepts to understand this disease group. It also continues to provide us with new targets for intervention.
Dr. Goldbach-Mansky's translational autoinflammatory research program focuses on clinical and translational studies in children with early-onset autoinflammatory diseases. Her research team conducts studies in patients with IL-1-mediated autoinflammatory diseases (including Neonatal Onset Multisystem Inflammatory Disease [NOMID] and Deficiency of the IL-1 Receptor Antagonist [DIRA] and in patients with IFN-mediated autoinflammatory diseases (including Chronic Atypical Neutophilic Dermatosis with Lipodystrophy and elevated Temperatures [CANDLE]), STING- Associated Vasculopathy with onset in Infancy [SAVI]) and other autoinflammatory interferonopathies.
The research team also evaluates and studies patients with as yet undifferentiated autoinflammatory diseases who are difficult to treat. Their conditions are often uncharacterized, but may be clinically similar to known autoinflammatory diseases.
The team applies a diagnostic approach that includes careful clinical evaluation, and genetics and immune evaluations to characterize the immune dysregulation with the ultimate goal of finding better treatments for these patients. Clues from the pathogenic and genetic studies in patients with NOMID pointed to dysregulation in an innate immune pathway that regulates the release of the proinflammatory cytokine, IL-1, and our clinical studies have led to the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the IL-1 blocking agent anakinra in the treatment of this condition in December 2012. Other molecular defects identified in our patients have become the target for new drug development and these rare diseases have become models to understand the pathogenesis of more common inflammatory diseases.
Our program is part of the NIAID Clinical Genomics Program. Our goal is to use genetics as a diagnostic test for all patients seen to diagnose known diseases and to identify novel genetic variants that result or modify inflammatory disease phenotypes.
Our efforts to integrate insights gained from the disease pathogenesis with finding novel treatments. The Clinical Center at the NIH is uniquely suited to accommodate patients with rare autoinflammatory diseases by providing in- and outpatient care facilities, laboratory support, and first-class imaging modalities. The TADS has established collaborations with specialists in other NIH institutes including the National Eye Institute, National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, the dermatology branch at the National Cancer Institute, the National Human Genome Research Institute, and the radiology and physical therapy department at the Clinical Center. NIH facilities including the Center of Human Immunology, provide access to high-throughput technologies to study autoinflammatory disease pathways, all of which are necessary clinical and research tools to evaluate patients with complex autoinflammatory diseases.
For a more detailed description of the autoinflammatory diseases we study, see Autoinflammatory Alliance.
Dr. Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky received her medical degree from the University Witten-Herdecke, Germany, in 1990 and completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University, Metro Health Medical Center. She completed her rheumatology fellowship training at NIAMS in 1999 and served as a staff clinician at NIAMS through 2008. Dr. Goldbach-Mansky is chief of the NIAID Translational Autoinflammatory Disease Studies (TADS) Section. She leads the NIAID autoinflammatory disease clinic and has built a translational research program focusing on clinical and translational studies in children with early-onset autoinflammatory diseases. Together with Dr. Daniel Kastner (NHGRI) she founded the Translational Autoinflammatory Research Initiative (TARI) at NIH to improve research in patients with rare autoinflammatory diseases.
Dr. Goldbach-Mansky's research focus is on applying a systematic approach to the clinical and immunological study of autoinflammatory diseases. Her group uses targeted interventions to understand the role of specific inflammatory pathways in the pathogenesis of autoinflammatory diseases.
Studies of the Natural History, Pathogenesis, and Outcome of Autoinflammatory Diseases (NOMID/CAPS, DIRA, CANDLE, SAVI, NLRC4-MAS, Still’s-like Diseases, and other Undifferentiated Autoinflammatory Diseases), NCT02974595
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Translational Autoinflammatory Disease Network (TARN)
NIAID Clinical Genomics Program