Diagnostic Test and Therapeutic Target for Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that attacks salivary glands resulting in chronic dry mouth and dry eyes. Currently, there is no single diagnostic test to confirm the presence of Sjögren's. Physicians presently reach diagnosis after conducting a series of blood and functional tests for tear and salivary production. Diagnosis is further complicated as Sjögren's symptoms frequently mimic those of other autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) and is often overlooked as dryness associated with medications being taken by the patient.

Researchers at NIDCR have identified overexpression of a growth factor, bone morphogenetic protein 6 (BMP6), in patients with Sjögren's. By detecting BMP6 expression and/or activity, this invention potentially presents a singular confirmation to diagnose those suffering and those at risk for developing Sjögren's. BMP6 also presents a potential therapeutic target for Sjögren's, a disease for which there is presently no cure.

Researchers have also discovered unique expression profiles for two other genes (XIST and MECP2) in male Sjögren's patients. Detecting aberrant expression and/or activity of these genes also offer a potential singular test for diagnosing Sjögren's in male subjects.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Singular diagnostic test to diagnose Sjögren's
  • Therapeutic target to develop treatment for Sjögren's
  • Currently no single test available to diagnose Sjögren's
  • Currently there is no cure for Sjögren's; present palliative treatments only reduce symptoms (e.g., moisture replacement therapy for eyes and mouth, and systemic anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive agents for more advanced forms of disease)

Development Stage:
  • Pre-clinical
  • In vitro data available
  • In vivo data available (animal)
  • In vivo data available (human)


John Chiorini (NIDCR)  ➽ more inventions...

Melodie Weller (NIDCR)  ➽ more inventions...

Hongen Yin (NIDCR)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
U.S. Pat: 9,833,519 issued 2017-12-05
US Application No. 61/540,364
US Application No. 61/705,517
PCT Application No. PCT/US2013/061587
US Application No. 14/428,929
US Application No. 14/858,929

Dix DJ, et al. PMID 8622925

Collaboration Opportunity:

The NIDCR is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize BMP6 Based Diagnosis and Treatment of Sjögren's. For collaboration opportunities, please contact David W. Bradley, Ph.D. at bradleyda@nidcr.nih.gov.

Licensing Contact:
Vladimir Knezevic, M.D.
Email: vlado.knezevic@nih.gov
Phone: 301.443.5560

OTT Reference No: E-232-2011-0
Updated: Apr 6, 2017