Rheumatology Expert to Lead Scleroderma Program at Cedars-Sinai’s Kao Institute

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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Francesco Boin, a nationally recognized rheumatologist, has taken over as director of the division of Rheumatology and of the new Scleroderma Program at Cedars-Sinai‘s Kao Autoimmunity Institute.

Boin previously established the Scleroderma Center at the University of California, San Francisco, and was director of the Translational Research Program at the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center.

“The best care we can offer our patients is tied to cutting-edge research,” Paul W. Noble, MD, chair of the department of medicine at Cedars-Sinai, said in a press release. “Dr. Boin is uniquely qualified to develop both a top translational science and clinical research center as well as a treatment and consultation program for people with rheumatological diseases.”

Scleroderma is characterized by the overproduction of collagen, a main component of connective tissue that results in scarring when accumulated. The autoimmune disease leads to hardening of the skin, but internal organs can also be affected.

“It is the epitome of complex autoimmune rheumatic disorders because it can affect any organ in the body,” Boin said.

Scleroderma affects between 75,000 and 300,000 people in the U.S. Boin’s team plans to research the biological processes driving disease development to make significant therapeutic advances.

“At Cedars-Sinai, we will focus on investigating the mechanism that triggers the development of this autoimmune disease in order to develop better ways of treating it,” Boin said. “The goal is to finally find a cure.”

The Scleroderma Program forms part of the Kao Autoimmunity Institute, which was founded in 2019 through a $20-million donation by Dr. and Mrs. Min H. Kao, and the Kao Family Foundation. The institute’s mission is to provide multidisciplinary and integrated care, while also finding better ways to treat scleroderma and other autoimmune disorders.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Francesco Boin to the new institute at Cedars-Sinai and excited for his leadership of the Scleroderma Program,” said Kao, PhD. “He is an accomplished clinician of the highest caliber and deeply committed to his patients and their integrative care. We look forward to the positive impact and excellence he will bring to the lives of scleroderma patients.”

In line with the insitute’s goal, Boin’s view is that the best approach is multidisciplinary.

“The key to managing these illnesses is to create a program for patients where we facilitate their care through a network of specialty physicians who understand the impact autoimmune diseases can have on the body,” he said. “Cardiologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, dermatologists and other specialists will all contribute to the development of best practices for treating scleroderma.”