In honor of Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, expert Dr. Joe Ahearn and advocate Michael Linn discuss relapsing polychondritis.
There are no blood tests, no biomarkers to analyze a patient for relapsing polychondritis. This very rare autoimmune disease is extremely difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, if this condition isn't identified early and treated effectively, a patient can suffer from irreversible damage and long-term complications.
For the March episode of the Rare Disease Report® podcast, HCPLive® invited Joseph Ahearn, MD, Chair, Autoimmunity Institute, Allegheny Health Network (AHN), and Michael Linn, Vice Chair, Relapsing Polychondritis Foundation, to focus attention on Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month by discussing relapsing polychondritis (RP).
After talking about the recent partnership of AHN and the Relapsing Polychondritis Foundation, and the impact that their initiative will have on the future of patients with RP, Ahearn is optimistic, depite the current gaps and obstacles within the field.
"A common thread through all of what we're saying is caring for patients with rare disease, whether it's autoimmune or otherwise," he said, "it's a combination of art and science. And we don't have enough science, and we don't have enough artists. But if we can make those discoveries and come up with a scientific test, it's going to take much less artistic expertise."
"If we can, for example, do a biopsy, like a liquid biopsy, and then we say, okay, this is what you have, this is what we're going to do," he continued, "we'll get there."