OMRF Opening Study Into Onset and Progression of Sarcoidosis

Marisa Wexler MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler MS |

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People with sarcoidosis are being asked to donate blood samples and information related to their disease to help the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) further its work into how sarcoidosis develops and progresses.

Healthy individuals, serving as a control group, are also asked to take part.

Participants will be asked to undergo a screening process, fill out questionnaires, and provide the blood samples. A number of onsite visits will be necessary, but no treatment will be administered, OMRF said in a press release.

Data obtained will be used in the development of new disease model for sarcoidosis, with the ultimate goal of better understanding the disease.

Sarcoidosis is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the body’s own tissues, resulting in the formation of small patches of inflammation called granulomas. These granulomas build up over time in organs, which can result in organ damage or failure. Most often, granulomas form in the lungs; but they can also affect the eyes, liver, skin, and brain.

Understanding the precise immunological mechanisms that lead to granuloma formation in sarcoidosis is an ongoing area of research into new disease markers and treatment approaches.

Previous OMRF efforts into the exact mechanisms that drive sarcoidosis include a research project to better understand exactly which types of cells are involved in the disease.

Umesh Deshmukh, PhD, a researcher at OMRF’s Sarcoidosis Research Unit, recently received a grant from the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) to support the development of a new mouse model of sarcoidosis. Deshmukh plans to use this model “to understand how exposure to environmental factors like fungi and mold cause granuloma formation in the lungs,” FSR reported.

“Research like Dr. Deshmukh’s moves forward thanks to generous people willing to donate samples to our studies,” said Courtney Montgomery, PhD, who leads the research unit. “When we’re able to better characterize what exactly is going wrong in the body, we may be able to discover what triggers the disease and develop effective treatments.”

African-Americans are disproportionately affected by sarcoidosis, with a lifetime risk as high as 2%, according to the FSR.

Those interested in taking part or needing more information about the study can contact OMRF’s Sarcoidosis Research Unit at 405-271-2504, 800-605-7447, or by sending an email to [email protected].

Participants will receive $20 per visit in compensation. During visits, strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place to ensure safety.