Rebecca S. Bahn, M.D.
Rebecca S. Bahn, M.D., studies the causes of Graves' ophthalmopathy (GO), Graves' hyperthyroidism and other autoimmune thyroid diseases. The long-term goal of her laboratory team is to develop effective new therapies for the treatment and prevention of these conditions.
Dr. Bahn's laboratory is interested in the mechanisms and consequences of immune system activation of fibroblasts from behind the eye, the target cells involved in GO. Her team is studying the unique features of these cells that render them particularly susceptible to autoimmune attack. Studies are under way to understand interactions between these cells and antibodies that target the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) found on these cells.
Dr. Bahn's research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and Mayo Clinic.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Bahn's research into the causes of GO and Graves' hyperthyroidism has led to a clinical trial of rituximab as a new therapy for GO. If this medication is proven effective in the treatment of Graves' ophthalmopathy, it will likely become a mainstay of therapy for this difficult-to-treat condition. In the future, new insight into the cause of these conditions will aid in the development of other new approaches to therapy.
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