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Rapid Test For Sjögren’s Syndrome

A team of National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) scientists reported in August 2009 that an experimental laboratory test called LIPS had correctly identified a key antibody associated with primary Sjögren’s syndrome 3 out of 4 times and with perfect accuracy. These data represented a significant improvement over the sensitivity and specificity of today’s standard enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA). The scientists report in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Translational Medicine that this 2-hour test just got a whole lot quicker. The scientists streamlined the assay’s 2 one-hour incubation steps to 5 minutes each. As the author’s reported, their quicker technique, called QLIPS, includes a 5 minute set-up, 2 5-minute incubation steps, 10 minutes of washing and reading of the [testing] plate with a luminometer for the results. Total testing time: about 25 minutes. Today’s ELISA tests typically range from 5 hours to a day to complete. The au­thors evaluated the ability of QLIPS to detect autoantibodies against 3 proteins—La, Ro60, and Ro52—that are often associated with primary Sjö­gren’s syndrome. They found that QLIPS detected the autoantibodies with a sensitivity of 49% for La, 56% for Ro60, and 70% for Ro52. The latter result was particularly noteworthy because it was a better diagnostic outcome than the longer-incubating LIPS technique. Moreover, QLIPS detected antibody titers from Ro52-positive Sjögren’s patients that were 1,000 times higher than those in healthy volunteers. Taken together, these re­sults suggest that QLIPS could measure Ro52 levels alone to diagnose primary Sjögren’s syndrome. The da­ta also suggest that QLIPS, with its speed and automated ease, has great potential as a point-of-care diagnostic test for this and other autoimmune disorders. 

(Source: NIDCR, Science News in Brief, October 21, 2009)

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