OMRF is marking World Sjögren’s Day on July 23 with a call for those who have or who think they may have Sjögren’s syndrome to participate in new research studies and a clinical trial.
In Sjögren’s, immune cells attack moisture-producing glands, causing severe dry eyes and dry mouth, and sometimes fatigue, joint pain, rashes, breathing problems and issues with thinking. While there are no approved treatments for Sjögren’s, OMRF researchers are out to change that.
“We have several labs across the OMRF campus doing world-class research from all angles on Sjögren’s syndrome,” said OMRF Sjögren’s Research Cohort Director Darise Farris, Ph.D. “Our collective goal is to understand it at the molecular level so we can develop new strategies for treatment – but to do this we need people with Sjögren’s or who think they might have it to participate.”
Two opportunities are available: Sjögren’s patients are needed for a clinical trial of an investigational drug to treat the syndrome, and both diagnosed patients and those experiencing symptoms are needed for a one-time research evaluation that will help numerous OMRF studies.
“Sjögren’s is a very challenging diagnosis and most people live with symptoms for years before they actually reach us because there is no clear-cut ‘yes or no’ test that can determine the disease,” said OMRF Vice President of Clinical Affairs Judith James, M.D., Ph.D., who is leading the clinical trial.
The biology of Sjögren’s is also poorly understood, which is why OMRF is also seeking volunteers for its ongoing research studies. During a one-time visit, clinicians will do a complete workup for Sjögren’s syndrome at no cost. Participants will undergo joint, eye and oral exams, as well as a minor salivary gland lip biopsy, and be asked to donate samples of blood, urine, tears and saliva.
“Identifying the pathways and targets that drive the abnormal immune response could help uncover the actual cause of the disease, not just the symptoms. This could lead to new approaches for disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment that could directly address the dryness in the disease, restore saliva production and improve other Sjögren’s symptoms,” said Farris.
For information about enrolling in the clinical trial, call 405-271-7745 or email Kallena-Haynes@omrf.org.
To learn more about participating in the one-time research cohort evaluation, call 405-868-9412 or email Sjogrens@omrf.org.
Funding for the research cohort is provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, which are each part of the National Institutes of Health.