Autoimmune Technologies - Applied Biomedical Science

Areas of Research


Sjögren's syndrome is a diffuse connective tissue disease that is characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth. It may involve dryness of other mucous membranes as well as joint or muscle inflammation, sleep disorders, and other symptoms.

Sjögren's syndrome may affect 1 of every 1,000 females in the United States.
Research studies suggest that Sjögren's syndrome is associated with a retroviral particle called Human Intracisternal A-Type Particle, or HIAP. Antibodies to this virus have been found in a very high percentage of patients with Sjögren's syndrome. These antibodies have also been found in a very high percentage of patients with three other autoimmune disorders: systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and Graves' disease.

Researchers believe that these four disorders may result from infection by HIAP and that individual genetic factors such as HLA haplotype may help to determine the specific symptoms which are experienced by the infected person. Support for the possibility that HIAP infection is in fact the cause of these four disorders is provided by a study by Steinfeld et al (Rheumatology 1999;38:814-817), who showed a dramatic improvement in Sjögren's syndrome patients who were treated with the anti-retroviral drug AZT.

Several patents cover HIAP in the U.S. and other countries. Autoimmune Technologies has licensed the HIAP technology from Tulane University in order to develop diagnostic tests and therapies for Sjögren's and the other disorders. For information about diagnostic testing, go to the Sjögren's Syndrome Laboratory Test Page.

This material is not intended to take the place of a physician's advice.


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