Today, though they live hundreds of miles apart from each other and have never met, Allison B. Reiss, MD, and Dan Daniell of Fayetteville, Georgia, have grown to be dear friends.
"I am so thankful for Dr. Reiss' friendship and the research that she is doing - I just know it's going to help people in the future," said Mr. Daniell, a retired Lieutenant Colonel who served in the United States Air Force for 24 years.
"The goal of my research program is to predict which RA patients are most vulnerable to developing heart disease so that we can target appropriate preventative and treatment measures to improve the quality of life for these individuals," said Dr. Reiss, who is Head of the Inflammation Section of the Winthrop Research Institute.
is a widely published leader in the field of arthritis research, who presents her
research findings at numerous prestigious national meetings each year.
research goals strongly resonated with Mr. Daniell, whose wife, Elizabeth, suffered with severe RA for many years and passed away suddenly in 2007 after going into cardiac arrest.
"I initially contacted Dr. Reiss
to share with her some details of my wife's experience and to see if she knew of any organizations that were doing research on costochondritis," said Mr. Daniell.
"We quickly became pen pals; Dr. Reiss
great kindness and sympathy towards me, and I learned more about the important research that she
is doing to make pain medications safer.
That's when I decided to establish a fund in memory of my wife."
The Elizabeth Daniell Research Fund
was established to support the work of Dr. Reiss
studies on heart disease and arthritis pain.
Dr. Reiss' research
focuses on the specific inflammatory components present in the circulatory systems of patients with autoimmune diseases that impair cholesterol meta - bolism and allow lipid accumulation in the artery, where it can lead to obstruction and heart attack.
One aspect of Dr. Reiss
team's work that holds particular promise for life-changing results is their finding that a naturally occurring substance in the blood known as adenosine has the ability to restore normal cholesterol metabolism even in the presence of inflammatory conditions.
The important research initiatives of (l.-r.) Iryna Voloshyna, PhD; Allison Reiss, MD; Michael Littlefield, BA; and Steven Carsons, MD, (not pictured) are helping to make strides in understanding the relationship between cardiovascular disease and arthritis pain, thanks in part to support from The Elizabeth Daniell Research Fund.
It is the hope of both Mr. Daniell and Dr. Reiss
that out of loss, something good can come.
"Mr. Daniell wants to give his wife a legacy," said Dr. Reiss
Under the leadership and with the full support of Michael S. Niederman, MD, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Winthrop, and Alan Jacobson, MD, Winthrop's Chief Research Officer, Dr. Reiss and her team are collaborating on several research initiatives.
Dr. Reiss and her team are grateful for the support of Mr. Daniell, The Arthritis Foundation, and se veral other national organizations which have helped make their research possible.