For over 25 years, the Spondylitis Association of America has encouraged and facilitated collaborations among prominent researchers as a means of accelerating advances in spondylitis research, diagnosis and treatment. Many of the research milestones listed below were made possible because of your donations and support of our mission.
AS Family Genetic Study
We are closer to our goal of finding a cure than ever before as we celebrate a major breakthrough in ankylosing spondylitis research.
1998 - SAA provided the seed money to launch the first major genetic study of AS in North America. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) followed with a multi-million dollar grant to expand the project, enabling collaboration among ten university medical centers and SAA, working to identify the genetic causes of AS. SAA spearheaded the collection of data from 400 families with sibling pairs who have AS.
2005 - With this important collection of data, researchers, under the guidance of John D. Reveille, M.D., Principal Investigator, were able to proceed with the research, which led to the remarkable discovery of regions on seven chromosomes that contribute to the cause of ankylosing spondylitis. For more information, please see the following articles from our magazine, Spondylitis Plus:
Acute Anterior Uveitis (AAU) Study
2005 - In this study, Dr. Tammy M. Martin and her colleagues sought to uncover whether a specific gene or multiple genes are involved in susceptibility to a serious inflammation of the eye called iritis or acute anterior uveitis (AAU), in people with AS. AAU may occur in the absence of other inflammatory disease or in the presence of AS and related diseases. Since 40% of patients with AS also have AAU, the study enrolled a large proportion of participants with AS as well as AAU. AAU is potentially a serious disorder that can lead to blindness if not properly identified and treated.
National Life Impact Study of Ankylosing Spondylitis
2005 - In June of 2005, the results of the findings of the Spondylitis Association National Life Impact Study were reported in the June 15 issue of Arthritis Care and Research, highlighting a need for greater awareness and diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Many of the major findings of the study showed that when children or teens experience aching joints and stiffness it may be more than growing pains. It may be ankylosing spondylitis, which can go undiagnosed for years and years, leading to serious problems later on in life. And while back pain is the primary symptom of AS in adults, children often experience other symptoms of the disease. Common symptoms of juvenile onset AS can include:
The following article from Spondylitis Plus contains more information:
- Ongoing or recurrent joint pain, including neck or back pain
- Pain around the knees, bottom of the feet and ankles
- Pain and stiffness that is usually worse in the morning
- Pain and stiffness that improves with exercise and worsens with immobility
- Swelling in the joints or other areas of the body, including where the ligaments such as the Achilles' tendon attaches to the bone
Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis: role of patient advocacy organizations in the twenty first century
2005 - The SAA co-authored paper, entitled Psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis: role of patient advocacy organizations in the twenty first century, discussed how the SAA and counterpart organizations have transformed from small patient support and advocacy groups into sophisticated national organizations integral to the formation of national health policy and research, treatment and educational resources. For more information, see the article linked below:
Triple "A" Spondylitis Consortium Genetic Study (TASC)
2007 - A collaborative effort by an international team of researchers in the U.K., Australia and the U.S led to the discovery of two genes that cause ankylosing spondylitis, a potentially disabling inflammatory disease. "This is the most significant breakthrough in AS research since HLA-B27 was uncovered 34 years ago and SAA played a significant role in making the study possible," said SAA Executive Director Laurie Savage, who is Co-Principal Investigator for TASC's administrative core.