According to the study researchers discovering an unique biological marker; for rare autoimmune diseases. As this study identifying a unique biological marker that can be using to identify the presence of the rare autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis; predict the course of the disease and identify new, personalized treatments.
Biomarkers are useful in managing diseases because they not only help in early diagnosis of a disease, but can also help outline its severity, predict the course and expected outcomes, and indicate what treatments would be the most effective. Biomarker discovery is an important step in individualized medicine
The study using metabolic an analysis of the serum (blood with all cells removed) to find a unique pattern of metabolites products of the body’s metabolic processes such as amino acids, vitamins or antioxidants that is specific to myasthenia gravis. But comparing the serum of patients with myasthenia gravis to a healthy control group.
Unique biological marker
Research study then performing a comparison of serum from myasthenia patients to serum from rheumatoid arthritis, another autoimmune disease. After identifying more than 10,000 compounds in the serum samples; they finding a unique pattern of 12 metabolites exclusive to patients with myasthenia gravis. This is really important because now we have a way to easily separate a patient with myasthenia gravis from someone with rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disease.
The rare autoimmune disease affects approximately one in 5,000 people, most often women under age 40 or men over 60. Typically, the disease affects the voluntary muscles in the face, head and neck; and may affect torso and limb muscles as well. Patients can experience eyelid drooping and double vision; difficulty speaking and chewing, and weakness in the limbs. In severe cases, the disease can affect breathing and swallowing muscles, which can be fatal.
Potential metabolomic profiling
The results highlight the potential metabolomic profiling has in identifying disease biomarkers. Right now we don’t have the ability to manage myasthenia gravis in a more specific way; we treat all patients the same. current methods for diagnosing myasthenia gravis only tell physicians whether or not a patient has the disease. There are no other biomarkers that can reliably predict the course of myasthenia gravis in a patient, or the best therapeutic response.
Although there is no known cure; there are treatments for the disease that can manage the symptoms throughout the rest of the patient’s life. Even so, because myasthenia gravis is so rare; treatments can be extremely expensive, hard to find and not tailored to the patient. Finding the antibodies is good for diagnosis; but they do not tell us how the patient will react to a specific drug or which drug will be most effective