sjogrens syndrome clinical trials dry eye

Help us Combat Sjogren’s Syndrome!

An autoimmune disorder is any illness in which the body turns on itself – white blood cells which are designed to protect your body’s intricate systems malfunction and attack. There are many different autoimmune diseases with a huge range of symptoms, but they’re often referred to as ‘invisible illnesses’ because they chiefly effect the interior working of glands, joints and the nervous system.

immune cells sjogrens syndrome clinical trialsOne example which the Pharmaceutical industry is becoming increasingly aware of is Sjogren’s syndrome. As an invisible illness,
this one is quite the heavy-hitter. It may be unfamiliar to you, and you might well be wondering how to even say it! Aptly, Sjogren’s is pronounced ‘Show-Grins’ – and as is the case with many invisible illnesses, sufferers are inclined to put on a brave face. Despite chronic pain, fatigue and discomfort, they still show a grin to the outside world.

So what is Sjogren’s syndrome? With this particular disorder, the immune system attacks the body’s moisture producing glands. Sjogren’s is typified by dryness and associated discomforts – sore, burning eyes, swollen tongue, difficulty swallowing, and painful sex. Patients with Sjogren’s are usually reliant on false tears and even false saliva day-to-day.

exhausted sjogrens syndromeAs if this wasn’t bad enough, Sjogren’s also carries with it a wide range of other symptoms, including fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, swollen glands and loss of sensation, and no two sufferers’ symptoms are exactly alike. It evades diagnosis, often masquerading as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus or Fibromyalgia. One of the most relied-upon tests for Sjogren’s syndrome is a biopsy of tissue from the inside of the lip, but even this can produce a false negative result if the illness is mild or in its early stages.

Because of all of the above, it takes an average of 4.7 years between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis. One famous Sjogren’s patient, Venus Williams, actually waited 7 years to be diagnosed!Venus Williams Sjogrens Syndrome Clinical Trials

At the time of her diagnosis in 2011, Williams was absent from professional tennis for almost a whole year, but in 2015 she regained world top 10 ranking. An incredible achievement for the athlete who recently admitted she has ‘struggled with fatigue for years’. Her success shows that a carefully managed diet and treatment of individual symptoms when they occur can really help to control Sjogren’s syndrome. However, there is no cure or single treatment available of this systemic illness – yet.

In late 2015, we started studying a new potential treatment for Sjogren’s Syndrome, designed to treat the underlying cause of the illness rather than just relieving some of its symptoms. To make sure that we can get this drug through to the next phase of testing, we still need to recruit several groups of healthy men and women aged 18 – 55. As well as helping to provide some hope for patients with Sjogren’s Syndrome, these volunteers will earn from £1644 – £2751 for their time. Could you help us with this study? Click here for full details!