Clinical Focus Area
Physician-investigators in the Div. of Immunology and Rheumatology offer cutting-edge care for patients with complex clinical problems. Dr. Weyand specializes in the evaluation and management of inflammatory blood vessel diseases; often referred to as vasculitides.
Due to their vital role, blood vessels are naturally protected from immune attack. In patients with vasculitis, this immune privilege is breached and inflammatory cells invade the walls of blood vessels or their surroundings. The consequence is frank destruction of blood vessels or a maladaptive response-to-injury that leads to vascular occlusion.
The care for vasculitis patients requires close interaction between multiple specialists; beginning with expert pathologists and radiologists who are critical in securing the diagnosis. Physicians specialized in eye disease, ear/nose/throat disease, neurology, dermatology, gastroenterology, nephrology and cardiology are working together to enable a multidisciplinary approach. Stanford University has a longstanding legacy of excellence in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery which now benefits patients with vasculitis who need repair of the aorta and its major branches.
The Weyand research team investigates abnormal response patterns in the immune system of patients with vasculitis. Such patients are offered the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research studies. The Weyand lab has developed a unique model system for vasculitis, in which engineered mice are engrafted with human blood vessels and are reconstituted with the patient’s immune cells. Each humanized mouse has an immune system mirroring that of the patient, enabling personalized studies of immune pathways and therapeutic responses.
The Weyand research team follows several large patient cohorts, each with a particular subtype of vasculitis:
- Giant cell arteritis (also known as large vessel vasculitis or temporal arteritis)
- Takayasu’s arteritis
- ANCA-associated vasculitis; including granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA; formerly Churg-Strauss syndrome) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA)
Patients with other vasculitic syndromes (e.g. Behcet's disease, Buerger's disease, cryoglobulinemia, IgA vasculitis (formerly Henoch-Schonlein purpura), Kawasaki disease, panarteritis nodosa etc) are also included in ongoing research projects.