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    Three novel antibodies may lead to the early diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome

    Take-home message: More information is needed about patients who test positive for one or more of three novel antibodies found to be correlated with early stages of Sjögren’s syndrome in a mouse model. Results of lip biopsies and other tests should also be considered because testing for the novel antibodies is not part of the current diagnostic criteria for Sjögren’s syndrome.

    Philadelphia—Too little is known about the correlation among three novel antibodies associated with Sjögren’s syndrome in an animal model and the signs and symptoms of the disease. While better diagnostic tools are needed, at this point the test might be more useful in screening dry eye patients who are suspected of having Sjögren’s than in establishing a definitive diagnosis.

    Read more at: Sjögren's Syndrome Resource Center

    “There’s definitely a great need for earlier diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome. It continues to be underdiagnosed, with many patients going years before a diagnosis of the condition,” says Vatinee Y. Bunya, MD, co-director, Penn Dry Eye & Ocular Surface Center, Scheie Eye Institute, and assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania.

    “The current antibodies that are used to diagnose Sjögren’s syndrome could use some improvement,” Dr. Bunya said, citing their low specificity and sensitivity. “Twenty to 30 percent of the patients with established Sjögren’s syndrome can test negative for the traditional antibodies (SSA, SSB, rheumatoid factor, and anti-nuclear antibody). That means that we’re still potentially missing the diagnosis in a good proportion of patients.”

    Recent: How new eye drop is stabilizing and relieving dry eye

    Dr. Bunya and colleagues have begun to use an in-office blood test that detects three new antibodies that may aid in the early diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome (Sjö, Nicox/Immco Diagnostics) and conducted a study to better understand its clinical utility. The antibodies—secretory protein 1 (SP-1), carbonic anhydrase-6 (CA-6), and parotid secretory protein (PSP)—were identified in a mouse model of Sjögren’s.

    Related: Sjögren's requires an understanding beyond traditional symptoms

    “In the mouse model, it appears that the antibodies may correlate with an earlier stage of Sjögren’s, and it was intriguing to think that perhaps this could be a useful screening tool, especially with dry eye patients,” Dr. Bunya says. “Approximately 10 percent of dry eye patients presenting to the office at a tertiary care center have Sjögren’s syndrome. But because dry eye is such a highly prevalent condition, it’s very difficult to know which patients may have Sjögren’s, and it’s not practical to work up all dry eye patients because there’s so many of them.”

    Correlating antibodies to Sjögren’s patients

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