Research

Dr. Alan Baer has established a prospective Sjögren’s syndrome cohort in the Sjögren’s Syndrome Center. The intent is to collect information about the clinical history and course of patients with suspected or established Sjögren’s syndrome. Participants complete questionnaires upon entry into the study and then at the time of return visit every 6-12 months.  Additionally, sera will be collected bi-annually and stored for future studies.

Dr. Baer is also director of the SICCA International Registry at Johns Hopkins University.  Enrollment ended for this study October 5th 2012.   A group of clinical and laboratory investigators from across the world is working together to study individuals with Sjögren’s syndrome and those who may have Sjögren’s syndrome. This collaborative group of scientists is known as the Sjögren’s International Collaborative Clinical Alliance (SICCA).  The SICCA International Registry has three objectives. The first objective is to develop standardized diagnostic criteria for Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS).  This objective has been met.  Click HERE to read full text article.   The second objective is to concurrently oversee the collection, processing and storage of clinical data and biospecimens (tears, saliva, and blood) from patients, their family members and controls.  The third objective is to develop a data and biospecimen bank from which these resources can be provided to qualified investigators with projects focused on SS.

Dr. Julius Birnbaum’s research bridges distressing symptoms which may affect Sjögren’s patients with neurological complaints, by capitalizing on the collaborative energy and passion of world-class basic scientists unified to help identify mechanisms and potential treatments.

Many Sjögren’s patients with devastating neuropathies have delayed diagnoses, because the blood work does not show any evidence of abnormal antibodies.    Our preliminary work shows that nearly 50 percent of Sjögren’s patients with neuropathies lack these antibodies.   Using the expertise of the Rheumatology Core Laboratory, we are seeking to identify novel and previously unidentified antibodies, which will provide insight into relevant mechanisms, and suggest therapeutic opportunities.

Sjögren’s patients may have brain lesions which can be misattributed to Multiple Sclerosis.   Ongoing studies with the Neuroimmunology Division is focusing on studying messengers called “cytokines”, which are seen in Sjögren’s patients, but not individuals with MS.

To alleviate the symptoms, pain, and sense of disenfranchisement which accompanies Sjögren’s patients with neurologic disease, Dr. Birnbaum is formalizing a cross-disciplinary program with psychiatrists, physiatrists, anesthesiologists, and neurosurgeons at the world-renown Blau Pain Management Center.

If you have questions about any of the research being done at the center, please contact Rebecca Ozl, Research Assistant via phone: 410-550-6492 or email rozl1@jhmi.edu.

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