What would you do if your country’s army that exists to protect you starts shooting down civilians instead? It would be a pretty helpless situation. This could happen in your body due to an autoimmune disorder, where your immune system start attacking your body tissue. The exact cause of such disorders is unknown but there is a theory that some microorganisms or drugs may trigger changes that could confuse the immune system.
There are over 80 different autoimmune disorders known so far ranging from celiac disease to more deadly diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Scleroderma. The most common of them are Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA), Lupus, and Celiac disease. The prevalence rates vary from 5 per 100000 cases (Chronic active hepatitis uveitis) to 500 per 100000 cases (RA, grave disease, thyroiditis). Diagnosing these conditions as soon as possible is of vital importance.
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The National institute of Health (NIH) estimates that 23.5 million Americans suffer from an Autoimmune disease. This is roughly 7 percent of the population with 78 percent of those cases being women and the prevalence is rising.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases. Like most Auto-immune diseases, there is a higher chance of women to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis than men. Increase in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis is driving the autoimmune diagnostics market.
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Currently the most common methods of diagnosis are Auto-Antibody tests, Antinuclear Antibody tests, Complete Blood Count(CBC), Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate(ESR), Comprehensive metabolic panel, Urinalysis, and C – Reactive Protein(CRP). Carrying out such examination could be difficult as not one, but multiple laboratory tests are needed and include basic studies like a complete blood count. Some tests like the ESR are not specific to any particular disease but are useful to assess disease activity. These tests are useful in diagnosis and management of patients and also help in providing a prognosis, or to indicate the severity of organ involvement or damage.
Given below are some of the latest developments in Autoimmune diagnostics:
Uncommon strategic collaboration between Inmedix and Omegawave
One of a kind collaboration of Inmedix with sports performance company Omegawave to commercialize elite sports testing as a medical application for diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
Inmedix secured a comprehensive license for use of Omegawave’s software algorithms and data analytics to continue to advance the development of clinical assessments and treatment outcomes for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other autoimmune diseases.
Fight-or-flight stress, which is controlled by the brain through the autonomic nervous system (ANS), has recently been identified as a factor that correlates to Rheumatoid Arthritis disease severity and treatment response in clinical trials.1-4 Omegawave EKG-based analytics assess a variety of human factors essential to elite sports performance, including precise measurement of the ANS.
“ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) state is arguably the most overlooked element of precision, personalized medicine. Its impact on immune function is often remarkable,” says Inmedix CEO and Co-founder, Andrew J. Holman, M.D. “With access to exceptional Omegawave technology, we hope to offer a new and better way to help patients with autoimmune diseases.”
Researchers find key mechanism to control antibody production
IMM Lisboa’s Luís Graça and his team have made a discovery on a cellular mechanism that underlies development of autoimmune diseases. They had earlier found that specific types of cells regulate antibody production. They hypothesized there was a marked division of tasks between cells of the immune system: To follicular helpers that help in production of antibodies and T follicular regulators that stop the production of antibodies. The team developed experimental methodologies that helped them identify the molecular targets that led to the formation of antibodies in both regulatory and helper cells.
The development of autoantibodies is one of the key factors for the development of several autoimmune diseases, like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus.
As such, being able to differentiate the cells that suppress the actions of the immune system and those that regulate the production of antibodies could lead to the development of novel forms of diagnosis or treatment, including more efficient vaccines.
Discovery’s Edge: Linking gut bacteria to Rheumatoid Arthritis
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis, a systemic autoimmune disease, is unknown. But environmental factors, such as smoking and certain genes, are linked to the disease process. Now Mayo Clinic research suggests another link: the composition of gut microbes. Veena Taneja, Ph.D., an immunologist at Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine, recently demonstrated a relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and the gut microbiota, also called the microbiome. The study published in Genome Medicine aimed to find an indicator that would predict susceptibility to the disease.
Such breakthroughs are vital as the prevalence of the diseases are on the rise. Making sure to diagnose them early on is of the utmost importance as it will improve our ability to manage such conditions for which there is no cure.