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Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Divisions Team Up to Treat Growing (but Lesser Known) Disease

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Sonal Munsiff, MD, associate professor of Infectious Diseases, wants you to know about nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease. She has been treating a growing number of patients with NTM, yet it remains mostly un-talked about in hospitals and communities. She’d like to change that.

“NTM can cause infection anywhere in the body,” said Munsiff, “but the majority of the time they cause lung infections. A lot of patients get diagnosed through our Pulmonary groups. I have a particular interest in these bacteria, and we are seeing an increasing number of cases in New York State. We are now developing a program here to help manage these complex patients that need long courses of treatment with multiple antibiotics.”

There has already been a growing relationship between Pulmonary and ID as they collaborate on caring for these unique patients. Alexandra Adams, MD, and Paul Levy, MD, from Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, are working with Munsiff and Michael Croix, MD, from ID, to develop the current NTM clinical practices at URMC. They are also developing a multidisciplinary bronchiectasis program that will help support the pulmonary needs of NTM patients.

Ghinwa Dumyati, MD, professor of Infectious Diseases, runs the surveillance site for the New York State Emerging Infections Program. URMC is one of only 10 state sites across the country funded by the CDC to conduct surveillance for emerging infectious diseases. NTM has not been a reportable disease, so data is limited; our surveillance will help identify the burden of disease and risk factors for infection and guide prevention policies. Dumyati published initial findings in Clinical Infectious DiseasesSince data collection began, Munsiff has seen clinical volume rise, and is receiving referrals across Western and Central New York.

The ID division manages an outpatient IV antibiotic therapy program, which supports NTM patients who receive at-home IV treatments. There are three other physicians in ID besides Munsiff and Croix who treat NTM patients, and they hope to expand the program as it develops. Munsiff is preparing to participate in a multisite Phase 2/3 clinical trial focused on investigating a new oral drug for Mycobacterium avium complex, the most common form of NTM.

Munsiff and Adams, along with their respective division chiefs, Paul Bohjanen, MD, PhD, of Infectious Diseases, and Patricia Rivera, MD, of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, see the growing need and have begun work to establish a multidisciplinary center at URMC, with members of both divisions, collaborating with respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and dieticians/nutritionists. A new center would offer patient support groups and patient advocacy too: as of now, most NTM patient support is virtual and online.

As they move forward in creating a center, they encourage UR faculty, nurses, and APPs with an interest in these patient cases to reach out to them.

Ann Falsey's Study Shows 80 Percent Effectiveness of RSV Vaccine for Older Adults

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Ann Falsey, M.D., professor of Medicine in infectious diseases and co-director of the URMC Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, is lead author of a recent New England Journal of Medicine paper based on a phase 2b clinical trial of the Janssen adult RSV vaccine. Falsey's research is among the first breakthroughs toward a safe and effective vaccine. With these results, Janssen has initiated its phase 3 trials with Falsey in an advisory role.

Read the full article (subscription required).

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