Thought you might be interested in what I have been doing lately. I just got back from a Sjögren’s Syndrome Symposium in Brest, France. The symposium was a 3 day event and was very well run. Brittany is a beautiful area of France (like most all of France) and the people were very nice. My wife and I really enjoyed it even though it was primarily business and we had to pay our own way. The Bretons were tolerant of my poor ability at speaking French and always called my bluff by answering me in French. When they saw my ‘deer in the headlights’ reaction, they knew it would be easier to continue in English. The symposium was in English fortunately for me.
A lot of the top researchers on autoimmune diseases were there. It was really interesting to hear about the different projects going on. SjS was the focus but there was also a lot about lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases since SjS can be secondary to them. Discussions were about classification criteria, microarray scans to find increased expression of genes, single nucleotide polymorphism searches to identify any genes with consistent mutations, etc. A lot of genetics-type approaches.
I was there because I was invited to give a talk in a satellite session on my work (drug discovery) and interests (X inactivation and autoimmune diseases). The session was on epigenetics and autoimmunity. There is interest in forming collaborations among researchers with regards to epigenetics and autoimmunity, not just for SjS but for other autoimmune diseases. I talked about my theory on loss of X chromosome inactivation and X-linked polyamine genes. They were very interested. In fact there was even mention of my talk in the main session before and after I gave the talk. I had discussed my hypothesis 5 years ago on ThisIsMS but have been fairly quiet since then. I have developed the hypothesis a lot further however in the past 5 years. In fact, what I discussed was newer aspects, I didn’t even touch on the portion from 5 years ago on ThisIsMS, even though I feel that is still valid and fits in tightly with the newer aspects. Anyway, I feel that people are starting to take notice of the hypothesis.
I have published the ideas in a very brief form but now I need to get a complete article published giving all the details I can within the size limits of an article. I really feel I could write a book now on the whole hypothesis but don’t have the time. Once I get an article done and submitted (which I will be trying to finish this weekend), then I can discuss it on ThisIsMS if anyone wants to hear about it.
There will be a meeting in Slovenia next May on autoimmune diseases and I believe there will be follow up discussions about the epigenetics and autoimmunity interests. So I may go to that. I will be trying to get a grant application submitted to do drug discovery work based on the hypothesis and hope to call on some of the people I met to be collaborators. Since Sjogren’s syndrome has an increased risk for lymphomas, there is a cancer aspect that can justify my working on it (since I work at a cancer research institute).
Anyway, things seem to be looking up for me towards doing some drug discovery work on autoimmune diseases.