Friday, August 21, 2009

Improved Diagnostic Technique for Sjogren's Syndrome

A recently published paper from the National Institutes of health can be found here and is titled Diagnostic Technique Shows Promise for Primary Sjogren's Syndrome. Here's an excerpt:
For the thousands of Americans who will be evaluated this year for the autoimmune disorder primary Sjögren’s syndrome, their doctors will likely test for two antibodies that are often associated with the condition. The problem is today's standard blood tests detect the more strongly associated antibody, called SSB, only about half the time, making the meaning of a negative result uncertain.

But these numbers could one day improve. Scientists at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health, report online in the journal Autoimmunity that a rapid, automated test now under development called LIPS identified the SSB antibody correctly three out of four times and with perfect accuracy. It also detected a second antibody, SSA, about as well as today's standard assays in the group's initial study of 82 people, 57 of whom had well-characterized primary Sjögren's syndrome.

"This is just step one in our work to improve antibody detection for Sjögren’s syndrome,” said Peter Burbelo, Ph.D., lead author on the paper and a scientist at NIDCR. “With further refinements, the percentages will only get better."

Read the paper in it's entirety for the complete data and a very interesting explanation of this diagnostic technique.

The average length of time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome is six years. Here's hoping that with better diagnostic tools, many Sjoggies can receive answers and treatment much sooner.

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