Sarcoidosis Research Papers

  1. Owen J Dempsey, consultant chest physician1,
  2. Edward W Paterson, specialist registrar in respiratory medicine1,
  3. Keith M Kerr, professor of pulmonary pathology2,
  4. Alan R Denison, clinical senior lecturer3
  1. 1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZN
  2. 2Aberdeen University Medical School, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
  3. 3Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging Centre, University of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
  1. Correspondence to: O J Dempsey owen.dempsey{at}nhs.net

Around 3000 new cases of sarcoidosis are diagnosed each year in the United Kingdom.1 General practitioners play a key role in the early recognition of the most common clinical presentations of this multifaceted disease, and they usually direct initial assessment and specialist referral. Although prognosis is excellent for most patients, a minority will develop life threatening complications and may need potentially toxic treatments. Most patients are young and understandably alarmed at having sarcoidosis, which can be difficult to explain and understand. This review provides a summary of the management of sarcoidosis and includes updates from the recently revised British Thoracic Society (BTS) guidelines.2

What is sarcoidosis and who gets it?

Sarcoidosis is a multisystem granulomatous disease of unknown cause, first described in 1877.3 Although sarcoidosis may occur at any age, it is usually seen in adults under the age of 50. It is slightly more common in women and certain racial groups, such as African-Americans and Scandinavians. Estimates of incidence and prevalence vary widely. In a well conducted five year study from a health maintenance organisation in the …

Summary points

  • Sarcoidosis is a multisystem granulomatous disease of unknown cause, typically affecting young and middle aged adults

  • Three thousand new cases are diagnosed each year in the United Kingdom

  • Any organ can be affected—mostly lungs, skin, and eyes—and patients often feel tired and generally unwell

  • Most patients do not need systemic treatment, and disease often regresses spontaneously, especially in those presenting with erythema nodosum

  • A minority have potentially life threatening progressive organ dysfunction; these patients need active management including oral corticosteroids

Sources and selection criteria

We searched for papers published between 1966 and March 2009 using appropriate index terms and the National Library of Medicine’s computerised search service (providing access to Medline, PreMedline, and other related databases). We also consulted Cochrane database systematic reviews and used our personal archive of references.

Building Momentum Towards a Cure

One of the major challenges within a foundation supporting medical research and patients is to determine priorities. FSR has been extremely strategic in determining how our organization can best lead to better lives for patients.  One of our primary priorities is to accelerate sarcoidosis research which will lead to treatments and possibly a cure.

Our strategy is to leverage our capacity to ensure other stakeholders push their resources into the sarcoidosis disease space. One of the main objectives of FSR is to “prime the pump” within the sarcoid research space – to make the field of sarcoidosis research more inviting to those with much more extensive resources by filling some of the current gaps that serve as barriers (i.e. lack of data, lack of funding, lack of investigators, lack of awareness, lack of knowledge, etc.)

If FSR creates basic tools to help bridge these gaps, then bigger players, with much deeper pockets, will be enticed to join the field. We are literally building a case for why sarcoidosis is a viable field for industry, government and academia to enter. We build this case by addressing some of the basics gaps that currently keep them away.

FSR has developed a specific Scientific Research Agenda that outlines the main areas in which FRS will invest our resources.  This was developed by our Scientific Advisory Board by identifying what “gaps” exist in sarcoidosis research where, if filled, could result in the maximum impact.  We recognize our role is to bridge these gaps in various ways, including direct funding of studies, initiatives, and trials.

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