Monday 11 November 2019

New hope for Sjogren’s Syndrome sufferers as understanding of the condition advances

Deputy Theme Lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Musculoskeletal Disease research, Professor Wan-Fai Ng has recently published findings that revolutionise the medical community’s understanding of Sjögren’s Syndrome.

For the first time, scientists at Newcastle University have been able to prove that there are at least four versions of primary Sjögren’s syndrome (PSS) – a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the parts of the body that produce fluids, like tears and saliva – findings that are key for more successful research in to diagnosing and treating the condition.

Because the initial findings were so controversial in terms of the historic understanding of Sjögren’s syndrome, Professor Ng’s research group needed to validate their observations from a UK study with two independent cohorts of patients based in Sweden and France. The further study supported the initial conclusion that there are distinct biological differences between four complete phenotypes, with some patients with Sjögren’s experiencing very few symptoms compared to those with a high symptom burden, significantly impacting quality of life.
The findings make it more likely that an effective treatment (or treatments) can be developed for the condition, as well as contributing to a holistic approach for patients to manage their symptoms.

This work received infrastructure support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre and the NIHR Clinical Research Facility, based at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University.

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