A Spoonful of Sugar from the Lab of Professor Rebecca Bader | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

A Spoonful of Sugar from the Lab of Professor Rebecca Bader

Katie Beth and I were on the road again this past week! We drove down to a Disney convention center to see the castles and other fantastic things like dreams come true…

Mission of Bader Research Laboratory

Katie Beth and Prof Bader talking chemistryRebecca Bader, Assistant Professor of Biomedical & Chemical Engineering at the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute of Syracuse University and her staff are working on projects related to improving treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis at the Bader Laboratory in conjunction with the Burton Blatt Institute. The mission statement of Professor Bader’s lab is “to conduct research to improve the lives of those suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

“To study RA is not a popular choice among academics, so I’m happy to finally be getting support,” Professor Bader explains. She is personally inspired by her aunt Sue who has lived with RA for over 40 years. Bader is aware that RA is usually misunderstood and uses material from RA Warrior to help explain RA.  She expressed thanks “that people are starting to pay attention to the fact that RA is a very real disease worth studying. That’s a great place to start.”

Two of Bader Lab’s staff gave us a summary of their projects

Bader is exploring new methods of drug delivery for Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments like methotrexate. Her lab is using natural biodegradable polysaccharides to make nanoparticle drug carriers. They can target tissue affected by RA because the pore size is much larger (10 to 1,000 nanometers) than healthy tissue which may only be five nanometers wide.Nan at Society of Biomaterials Poster session

At the Annual Exposition of the Society of Biomaterials, Nan Zhang presented a poster explaining how polysaccharide-based nanoparticles would deliver methotrexate into joint tissue; lessening side effects of treatment. Dr. Bader said, “We chose to start with sugars because they are naturally compatible with the body and easy to breakdown, so you won’t have an extra induced inflammatory or immunogenic response.”

I can’t help saying it: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

The Bader Lab has several other current projects. We spoke with PhD candidate Christopher Close, who is working with miniature ultrasound units which produce minimal heat. “We are looking at this method that is used in OA. We hope we can disturb the process of the macrophages and the fibroblasts while stimulating production of new cartilage at the same time.”

An e-patient’s wish is granted

Becky and KellyIt’s surprising how often people I meet have their own e-patient story to tell. Time after time, the principles of empowering patients come alive as people tell me their stories.

Professor Bader goes by “Becky.” She’s a triathlete. And she blogs about running while raising money for charity. Do any of you remember what it’s like to run? I do…

Becky remembers a time when she dragged her left leg behind her. She went to doctors and they told her it was just a bruise. That might make sense if it hadn’t lasted five years? “Five awful, long, painful years,” she remembers.

Becky researched online and found a lead. Her hip injury matched the description of acetabular labral tear. A desperate young graduate student, Becky wrote to expert surgeon Dr. Robert Buly at the Hospital for Special Surgery. To her surprise, he wrote back. Soon, Dr. Buly operated on Becky, performing “debridement with thermal capsulorrhaphy.”

Becky ran again 12 weeks after surgery: “It was the best 5 minutes I’d had in 5 years.  I remember every second of that run.” Four weeks later, she came in second place in her first race. Talk about sweet! “It was amazing, I cried.”

Today, Becky ran in her first Boston Marathon.

Bader - Zhang methotrexate nanoparticles posterClick to enlarge and view Nanoparticle Drug Delivery poster!

Read more about Professor Rebecca Bader’s Lab at Syracuse University.



The t-shirt store is having a sale this week! Here are the details they sent to us:

Coupon Code: AprilSweet
Discount: $5 off No Minimum!

Coupon Code: AprilSugar
Discount: $10 off subtotal of $50+

Coupon Code: AprilCandy
Discount: $35 off subtotal of $100+

Disclaimer: Please enter coupon code before completing checkout. Discount is applied to the base price subtotal and does not include shipping, taxes, or additional charges. May not be combined with other offers. Coupons valid from 4/21/2011 to 4/25/2011 11:59 pm MDT.

Recommended reading

Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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6 thoughts on “A Spoonful of Sugar from the Lab of Professor Rebecca Bader

  • April 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    What a wonderful story of empowerment! Thanks for sharing!

  • April 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Kelly – 2 great stories!!! First about the continued research for RA meds. I love hearing that – I’m finding myself so exhausted lately. 10 years on Methotrexate and biologics is wearing away at me.

    Terrific second story about Becky’s hip injury, subsequent surgery and recovery!!! Proof positive that you need to not take NO for an answer and continually seek answers.

    I hope you get some of your answers for your RA which seems to be of a more stubborn form than mine.

    Keep up the good work!!! I love all you do.

  • Pingback: Polysaccharide Mediated Drug Delivery for Arthritis » BioZio Blog

  • April 22, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Thank you Professor Becky for trying to improve the lives of those with RA! I know I sure could use some improvement. I have a grand daughter now, I’m 49 with RA and permanent damage to my joints, especially my left knee and shoulder. This happened before diagnosis. Your story of dragging around for a five years, rang a bell. I limped for 3 yrs until I was diagnosed and treated. I have never liked running, mainly because I have scoliosis, but yet I mourned the fact that I cannot run any longer. I have joked before (kinda), what if a bear was after me? I would be his lunch for sure. I do wish I could run.
    Then I remember those that can’t walk, like my brother, who is a new paraplegic, so I can’t really complain too much.

    Kelly, I am glad you get to meet so many cool people and introduce us to them. I am also glad for the great work you do for all of us with RA. I am also glad that I can be glad like you and Pollyanna 😉 Bless you and Professor Becky.

  • May 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    This is awesome news. Thanks Professor Bader for your research efforts to help find a cure for RA. You are wonderful. Thanks Kelly for all you do as to bring awareness to this awful disease. How you are to meet all of these people. Thanks for sharing her story with us. You are both and inspiration.

  • Pingback: Rheumatoid Arthritis Ruined Her Elbow, But Nothing Could Break Her Hope–e-Patient Dave | Knowledge of Medicine


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