Dr. Weiss’s research focuses on early diagnosis, accurate phenotyping and targeted treatment of children with spondyloarthritis (SpA).
Juvenile SpA is heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by varying degrees of arthritis of the peripheral skeleton (knees, ankles, etc), enthesitis (inflammation of the tendon insertions), symptomatic eye inflammation, gut inflammation, and axial arthritis (sacroiliac joints +/- spine joints) accompanied by overlapping genetic susceptibility. Dr. Weiss has directed efforts to optimize evaluation of early disease phenotype, including the of the imaging of axial arthritis. Her prior work includes publications demonstrating the limited utility of plain radiographs in the evaluation of early axial disease as well as the limited usefulness of intravenous contrast when evaluating for sacroiliac joint inflammation on MRI. She has also demonstrated variation in MRI evaluation and interpretation of the sacroiliac joint across academic institutions and underscored the need for additional training of rheumatologists and radiologists regarding the normal appearance of the sacroiliac joint. She has collaborated with international colleagues and imaging experts to validate clinical disease activity scores and imaging tools to assess change over time.
Since there is no standardized approach to the initial treatment of spondyloarthritis, understanding the comparative effectiveness and efficacy of the diverse therapeutic options and standardization of care will result in better health outcomes. Dr. Weiss has worked with existing clinical data to compare the effectiveness of established treatments and is also involved in clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of newer targeted therapies. For those patients who have achieved sustained remission, Dr. Weiss is also investigating the ability to safely taper or stop medications. Lastly, Dr. Weiss has collaborated with patient and parent stakeholders to evaluate patient reported outcomes in spondyloarthritis.