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Research in the area of autoimmune encephalopathy such as PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) and PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infection) is growing, but is still preliminary. Multi-center studies are needed to move research forward. PANS/PANDAS research at the UA Steele Center will focus on genetics, biomarkers and response to varied medical interventions.
Sydney Rice, MD, MPH, and Michael Daines, MD are the principal investigators for the Arizona partner site in the NIMH PANS/PANDAS national collaboration.
Dr. Rice will focus on developing centralized and systematic data collection tools and protocols that will generate a national data and biological repository to accelerate PANS/PANDAS research. The research conducted under Dr. Rice will include clinical approaches and will generate extensive, systematic data and sample collection that will allow basic scientists to approach the question of diagnosis and treatment from a different perspective.
Dr. Daines will focus on medical interventions and response to treatments related to immune deficiency and dysregulation associated with PANS/PANDAS. As a clinical immunologist, Dr. Daines has extensive clinical experience in diagnosing and managing immune deficiency and dysregulation including the prophylactic use of antibiotics, immune suppressive drugs, replacement and immunomodulatory IVIG, and stem cell transplant. His clinical and research role will be to assess the need for immune modulation, determine the appropriate treatment, and enroll patients in rigorous research studies to assess the response to immune modulation from an immune standpoint and from a behavioral standpoint in collaboration with Dr. Rice.
Basic Science Research
Basic science research will be led by Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, associate professor, and Fayez K. Ghishan, MD. Both Drs. Ghishan and Kiela are experts in the area of pediatric autoimmune diseases. Researhc is slated to start in 2017 and aims to advance previous discoveries made into the triggers of autoimmune disorders. The researchers will explore the molecular mechanisms that cause some children to develop CPAE disorders. The goal of this research is to identify immune modulators, genetic predisposition and biomarkers that identify this condition and treatments to alleviate the symptoms of the disorder.