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Current Research

Cedars-Sinai is uniquely positioned at the forefront of translational research to improve women's health across a wide array of disciplines.

Women are more prone to developing autoimmune disease than men. As just one example, 90% of those diagnosed with lupus are female. In collaboration with investigators in Cardiology, CREWHS Scientific Director Caroline Jefferies, PhD, is working to understand sex differences in cardiovascular health among lupus patients and how the immune system contributes. Her research currently focuses on discovering the role of sex hormones, environmental factors such as sunlight and sex-linked genes—as well as determining how researchers can use this information to get a better handle on disease pathology.

Each year, approximately 90,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer such as endometrial, ovarian or cervical cancer. In addition, over 240,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Men, on the other hand, are more prone to other types of solid tumors including colon, stomach and liver. Research at Cedars-Sinai focuses on cancers affecting women and on understanding how sex differences impact the incidence and progression of cancers.

Data clearly show sex and gender differences in the clinical manifestation of ischemic heart disease (IHD), the incidence of cardiovascular events and the use of evidenced-based IHD therapies. Gender and sex differences also impact cardiovascular risk, diagnosis and therapies. However, researchers are continually identifying new variables that contribute to different IHD outcomes in men and women—and many of these variables are not considered during the design of clinical trials or longitudinal cohort studies. This ultimately limits researchers’ ability to examine sex-specific contributors to health and disease.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai are studying diverse aspects of maternal-fetal medicine. In the area of preeclampsia, they are focused on biomarkers for risk stratification and early detection. Investigators have also examined links between long-term cardiovascular disease in women and pregnancy complications such as preterm births. Research in obstetrics and in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders is yielding translational findings with the potential to reshape care. Other areas of inquiry include obstetrical healthcare resource utilization, cesarean section rates and appropriateness of use and maternal quality care.

Men and women differ substantially in their susceptibility to certain neurological diseases, as well as in the prognosis, severity of symptoms and the nature and efficacy of their response to treatments. Certain autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica more commonly affect women than men. Alzheimer’s disease is also more common and progresses more rapidly in women. In collaboration with CREWHS, experts in Neurology and Biomedical Sciences are working to understand sex-specific differences in disorders that affect the nervous system.

Since the passage of Title IX, the landmark gender equity law included in the Education Amendments of 1972, female participation in sports has skyrocketed. Despite this progress, research on sports science has predominantly focused on male athletes, leaving a significant gap in knowledge given that women experience different musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries, at different rates, than men and may therefore require alternative treatment. Partnering with CREWHS, specialists in Orthopaedics seek to close this gap with research investigating how fluctuations in female hormones put MSK tissue at risk.

Researchers at the Center for Research in Women’s Health Science (CREWHS) work to increase health equity for women through their commitment to high-impact women’s health research. By delving into the development and progression of disease in women’s bodies, CREWHS scientists seek to improve health outcomes for women across our community and beyond.

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