When the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) was founded in 1983, there was no support network, no educational materials geared to the patient, not even a single pamphlet for people affected by spondylitis, whether they were newly diagnosed or had lived with the condition for decades. Just as importantly, spondylitis research in the U.S. was at a virtual standstill. More than 30 years ago, a small group of dedicated volunteers set out to change that. And in doing so, changed the landscape of spondylitis in this country.
Today, SAA's network of supportive programs ensures that those affected by spondylitis do not have to face this disease alone. Regardless of location, individuals and their families can connect with a robust community of people who listen and understand. With access to our exhaustive library of informational materials on worldwide developments in spondylitis, they can also find the tools they need to inform themselves, educate others, and take control of their health, leading to better outcomes and more robust quality of life.
All those years ago, SAA also set out to jump-start medical and scientific research in the U.S., leading to some of the most significant breakthroughs ever achieved. A better understanding of the genetic makeup of the disease has led to more effective medications and brought us closer to uncovering the causes and, potentially, hastened the day when we may see a cure.
For over 30 years, when you look to the advances made in the field of spondylitis, you’ll find the Spondylitis Association of America.
For more than 30 years, the Spondylitis Association of America has spoken out on behalf of all who suffer from spondylitis. By making a donation to SAA, you will directly contribute to much-needed public awareness efforts, educational outreach programs, research initiatives, treatment advances and the ongoing search for the cure. Add your voice to our mission to be a leader in the quest to cure ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases, and to empower those affected to live life to the fullest. Together, our voice is louder. Together, we make a difference.
SAA funds research by Medical Board member James T. Rosenbaum, MD to test his hypothesis that HLA-B27 shapes the gut microbiome. Alteration of the microbiome could potentially be used to treat or prevent many diseases caused by the immune system, including ankylosing spondylitis.
SAA begins a second major research project, "The Development of an Online Screening Tool to Identify People at Risk for AS," with Michael H. Weisman, MD as Principal Investigator. Ultimately, the screening tool will help to identify new cases, greatly improve early diagnosis, encourage care-seeking among patients who learn that they are at risk for AS, provide useful information to patients and physicians, and will help raise awareness about AS and its related diseases.
SAA and the University of Texas (UT) form the North American Spondylitis Consortium (NASC), a consortium of 10 university medical centers and SAA. The National Institutes of Health provides a $6.5 million grant and designates SAA as clinical coordinating center for the AS Family Genetic Project, the first time a patient advocacy organization has ever been granted this designation by the NIH.
The organization changes its name to the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA), in order to reflect a broadened mission that encompasses diseases related to ankylosing spondylitis.
The Ankylosing Spondylitis Association (ASA) co-sponsors a four-day international research and educational symposium with the University of Texas at Dallas, titled "The Second Simmons Center International Conference on HLA-B27 Related Disorders." A highlight of the conference is the unveiling of the three-dimensional structure of the HLA-B27 molecule, a major step forward in scientific discovery. ASA organizes a concurrent program of clinical sessions for arthritis health care professionals, such as physical therapists and nurses. The conference culminates with an educational program for patients.
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