Diagnostic methods in autoimmunity

Published on July 31, 2018   36 min

A selection of talks on Immunology & Inflammation

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Hello, my name is Steven Binder, and I'm the Senior Director of technology development at Bio-Rad Laboratories. Today we're going to be discussing diagnostic methods used to measure autoantibodies, which are important for autoimmune disease. There are many methods available for autoimmune testing, and it's important to understand that these methods are not highly standardized. Today you can get results for glucose or cholesterol from almost any clinical laboratory with excellent agreement between laboratories in very good precision and reproducibility. This is not yet the case for autoimmune testing. Of course, the number of methods available are a major source of this variation, but the reason we have this state today is, there are both very large labs and very small labs doing the testing. Further there is a lot of biological variation, since a human autoantibody is not a well-defined molecule, like cholesterol, and can vary from individual to individual. So given these complexities, I'm going to try and share some information with you today about the sorts of tests that are available for autoimmune testing in use today.
Because many autoimmune diseases are difficult to diagnose, a test with high sensitivity would be useful to rule out these diseases. There are however only a few diseases where autoantibodies are observed in even 90 percent of cases. So the laboratory results alone, are rarely sufficient to rule out disease. A more common situation is the use of an autoimmune test to support a diagnosis, such as the detection of anti-SSA and anti-SSB antibodies, when Sjogren's syndrome is suspected. Another common use for these tests is assistance in differential diagnosis. For example, the detection of different anchor patterns can assist the rheumatologist in the assessment of a patient with possible vasculitis. Finally using serial blood collections to follow increases and decreases in antibody levels, for example, the anti-dsDNA levels in SLE patients, can be a useful approach for monitoring disease activity and determining the efficacy of treatment.