Method to Diagnose Giant Cell Arteritis
BACKGROUND: Giant cell arteritis is an inflammatory disease that primarily affects arteries in the head and neck. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that 200 per 100,000 people over the age of 50 develop giant cell arteritis. If not diagnosed and treated immediately, this disease can rapidly cause blindness. Currently, the most definitive method of diagnosis is biopsy of the temporal artery. This method, however, is not only undesirable due to its invasive nature, but is also not completely reliable.
DESCRIPTION: UC scientists have identified microbial DNA sequences whose presence in vascular lesions is correlated with giant cell arteritis.
APPLICATIONS: The DNA sequence, the protein product, or antibodies against this protein product, can be used as tools to diagnose giant cell arteritis. Specifically, people afflicted with the disease would be expected to have detectable microbial DNA, proteins or antibodies against the proteins in the blood stream.
ADVANTAGES: Diagnosis using this non-invasive and reliable method would provide an improvement over other currently available methods. Early diagnosis, and thus early treatment could help prevent serious complications of the disease, particularly blindness.
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