• Sarah Schafer, MD

Research progress

Updated: May 18, 2021

Most Saturdays mornings, I review a new batch of Sjogren’s-related journal articles from the NIH and Google Scholar. These articles, along with the Sjogren’s Quarterly publication, help me stay up to date with Sjogren’s research.

Until recently, this task took an hour or two each week. For years, I felt frustrated by the lack of clinical studies. The good news: I am now swamped with reading. Sjogren’s research is truly gaining momentum!

The Sjogren’s Foundation, www.sjogrens.org, has been instrumental in promoting research, as well as facilitating the design of clinical trials through collaboration with educational institutions, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies.

A major research priority is to find better biomarkers. This could be a game-changer. Accurate biomarkers are needed to diagnose the disease in its early stages. Most patients have disease progression for years or even decades by the time they are diagnosed. Early Sjogren’s symptoms are often mild and tend to be dismissed as unimportant by both patients and clinicians. Yet if we can identify Sjogren’s and treat it early, there will likely be much better outcomes.

Another important reason to look for new biomarkers is the need for objective measurements of disease activity. Currently, no lab test correlates with how sick a Sjogren’s patient is. Neither antibody titers, nor common inflammatory markers such as ESR and CRP, reflect disease activity. Having a test that can tell you how sick you are will help clinicians and researchers know if a treatment is working.

Learn more about exciting new trends in research by watching Episodes 4 and 6 of the Exploring Sjogren’s videos. This wonderful educational project was recently produced by the Sjogren’s Foundation.

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