Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Celebrating A New Diagnostic Test for Sjogren's

Long Shen, Ph.D. and Julian L. Ambrus Jr., MD

It looks like there's an exciting development to share about diagnosing Sjogren's. There's a new diagnostic panel called Sjö(TM) being made available that includes biomarkers for the disease.  Hip hip hooray!  The hope is that these tests will help reduce the long time to diagnosis that so many patients endure.  It's close to 5 years for the average Sjogren's patient and I've talked to many where it's taken significantly longer.  You can read more about this exciting news here.

The Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation will be partnering with the test's distributer (Nicox) to educate eye doctors about this autoimmune disease (AI disease) and the new testing available.  As many of you know, my motto is that "Sjogren's is more than dry eyes and dry mouth" so I'm hoping that rheumatologists and ENT's and maybe even neurologists that treat AI disease will eventually be brought into the Foundation and Nicox's education campaign.

Now, back to the tests. Being an inquisitive Sjoggie, I couldn't help myself and wanted more information about the exact tests that would be in the panel.  I found this article in Optomotry Times with lots of interesting details.  

The test...combines three proprietary biomarkers (salivary gland protein-1 [SP-1], carbonic anhydrase-6 [CA-6], and parotid secretory protein [PSP]) with traditional markers antinuclear antibodies [ANA], Ro, La, and Rf [rheumatoid factor]).

What's so important about these markers is that they can often be found earlier in the disease process than the traditional Sjogren's antibodies.  

Traditional tests for the disease use ANA, Ro, La, and Rf antibodies, which exhibit sensitivity limitations or are associated with later-stage Sjögren’s syndrome....The newer antibodies were found in 45% of patients meeting the criteria for Sjögren’s syndrome, but lacking antibodies for Ro and La. In patients diagnosed with xerostomia for less than 2 years, 76% had antibodies to SP-1 or CA-6, while only 31% had antibodies to Ro or La.

These new biomarkers have the potential to make a big difference for patients with clinical Sjogren's symptoms that do not initially test positive for the disease.  In my humble opinion, earlier diagnosis can lead to earlier treatment and a reduction in autoimmune complications.  So that's something to celebrate and big thanks and round of applause to those hard working University of Buffalo scientists Long Shen, Ph.D and Just L. Ambrus Jr., MD (pictured above) who made this scientific discovery possible!  

1 comment:

  1. Hi, really nice to hear that there are new tests available for this disease. I too struggle in getting a diagnostic for more than 6 months. Clinically, I have all symptoms, blood works are all ok. You say that "earlier diagnosis can lead to earlier treatment", but what treatments do you refer to, because Plaquenil is controversial among doctors..some say it does nothing for Sjogren, others say it does. So, my question can we treat it if there is no proven cure ?:(