OMRF scientist Kathy Moser, Ph.D., is asking disease sufferers to turn the tables on their illness and help learn more about the autoimmune disease Sjögren’s syndrome.
Sjögren’s is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks the body’s moisture-producing glands, damaging the ability to produce saliva or tears. Common symptoms of the syndrome include dry eyes and dry mouth. The disease can also affect other organs and cause a variety of additional symptoms such as fatigue, arthritis and memory problems. Sjögren’s is thought to affect as many as 3 million Americans.
Moser and other researchers at OMRF need volunteers who have been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome or believe they might suffer from the disease. The goal of her research is to isolate and identify the genes responsible for the disease.
“Building a very large collection of samples and clinical data from carefully evaluated Sjögren’s syndrome patients will provide a critical and much needed resource for research,” said Moser, who is an associate member of OMRF’s Arthritis and Immunology Research Program. “Through our Sjögren’s Research Clinic, we are able to facilitate many different types of research projects led by investigators who are part of our OMRF team as well as numerous U.S. and international collaborators.”
Participants help by expanding the research database, which lets scientists discover more about the causes and effects of Sjögren’s syndrome. The results can lead to the development of improved diagnostic tests and therapeutic options for the common and debilitating disorder, she said.
A similar approach at OMRF has led to breakthroughs in the identification of genes related to lupus.
Volunteers who qualify for the study will be asked to donate a small blood sample and meet with an ophthalmologist, a rheumatologist and an oral medicine expert for specialized tests. The medical evaluations, provided at no cost to the volunteer, are worth about $2,600, and patients can take the results back to their primary care physicians.
“Only a handful of centers around the world are set up to do this kind of analysis in a single visit,” Moser said.
If you are interested in participating or would like more information about the study, please call (405) 271-2574.