Friday, January 20, 2012

New blood test for lupus. Could it be?

Word in Pittsburgh, PA is that there's a new blood test that can help to more accurately diagnose lupus. You can read the entire article here, but here are the highlights:
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A new blood test that researchers in Pittsburgh developed to help doctors better diagnose lupus now is available for everyday use.
Drs. Joseph Ahearn and Susan Manzi of West Penn Allegheny Health System began working on the test about a decade ago at the University of Pittsburgh, said Jennifer Davis, a system spokeswoman.
"...Up until now, there really was no specific blood test for lupus, which led to it being grossly misdiagnosed," Ahearn said. "This test is far superior and will result in more accurate diagnosis." The test is now available for use to patients and doctors nationwide. 

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Three cheers for the new blood test. Yippee!!!


12 comments:

  1. Very exciting! I wonder what the name of the test is?

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  2. great question! Let me see if I can find out. I'll keep you posted...

    Thanks!

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  3. Hi Sara,

    I think the test is the Anti-SR protein antibody assay. Will be great to hear more about it in the future. Any advancements in testing is wonderful news. Especially for the undiagnosed still battling to get a diagnosis. Although I have positive ana, malar rash, arthritis, photosensitivity and high inflammation markers and other symptoms. I am still yet to have any other positive antibodies. This made it a lengthy diagnostic process for myself.

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  4. Nicole, you're lucky, if that's the right word, to have a positive ANA. All of my bloods, and I really do mean all, have always been negative apart from a rheumatoid factor that has only ever turned borderline positive. One rheumy told me there was nothing wrong and it was a strange coincidence I've got all the symptoms of lupus, all thanks to a negative ANA. My current one rolled his eyes and diagnosed me 8 years after my first symptoms. It might have helped that my mum got diagnosed 4 months before me!

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  5. Despite my positive ana from the onset of my symptoms, it still took over 6 years for a diagnosis for me Aymie. I was given a chronic pain syndrome diagnosis with no medication to treat my symptoms. It's only when I finally got the elevated inflammatory markers did another rheumy change the diagnosis. She started HCQ, mtx and NSAIDS. It's only after diagnosis that I then got another criteria, the malar rash! I'd previously had a faint version of the rash but it suddenly become more distinct. Frustrating to say the least. I could have done with it 6 years earlier. I have another family member with SLE but she was deemed, not a 'close' enough relative for it to be relevant. I'd had issues with proteinuria and hypertension briefly but this was ignored when a renal ultrasound came back NAD and it resolved by itself. Although my doctor considered starting me on ACE inhibitors. It's just an all too familiar story that the diagnostic process is long and difficult for many with lupus. I hope that this test makes a difference.

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  6. Yep, me too!
    I read somewhere that here in the UK it takes on average 7 years to diagnose SLE and, even with all the work that Lupus UK are doing, family doctors still don't really have a clue. Mum's had it for 20+ years with loads of the classic symptoms and was never referred to a rheumatologist until a year ago when she flared and was diagnosed on her second appointment with him. The same guy diagnosed me on my first.
    Diagnosis is a hard time and anything that makes it even that little bit easier to get to is progress.

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  7. I am in a similar boat. I am not diagnosed "yet" but seems like I should be but time will tell. My rheum did bring up the concern and possibility again this time but not sure if he will officially diagnose it yet. My ANA is very high but I do not have lupus specific antibodies. I recently developed non-erosive arthritis, photosensitive rash, and cytopenia on top of my mouth ulcers and raynauds. I also have another type of skin rash and the biopsy was consistent with possible lupus. It seems like if you meet the criteria a label makes sense but I guess each rheum is different. I am happy to be getting treatment but why is that label emotionally hard not having! In the meantime, Sara's book has brought me so much help!!!

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  8. Thanks so much for your comments, everyone! I can't tell you how familiar (albeit frustrating) your stories sound...that 7-year average is just unacceptable, isn't it? Here's hoping increased awareness, education, and more definitive blood tests cut this time frame significantly. It's time!!!

    (and thanks for the comment on the book - I appreciate it!)

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  9. sounds familiar I am ANA positive and I have inflamatory indicators but the rheumatologist says the test for lupus is negative but I have the butterfly rash,extreme fatigue arthritis in hands photosensitivity oral ulcers and anemia. He prescribed presidone and methotrexate..... Any advice?

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  10. I recently had a positive ANA as well as a very high Anti DNA (ds) and ANA Direct positive A. I know what the first two tests represent, but what I'd the third test and what does it mean.

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  11. I recently had a positive ANA as well as a very high Anti DNA (ds) and ANA Direct positive A. I know what the first two tests represent, but what I'd the third test and what does it mean.

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  12. I'm not sure what that ANA Direct Positive A distinction is, either. Your doctor would know, of course, and if you can call his/her office, that's probably your best resource. The LFA office also has a nurse on staff who can help answer generic questions like this, but I'd think consulting your doctor for the most specific answer as it directly relates to your lupus would be ideal. Best of luck!

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