In the case of autoimmune diseases the organism raises antibodies against its own cells. In 1985 it was reported that anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibodies (ANCA) -directed against components of the cytoplasm of the neutrophils- were present in the serum of patients with Wegener's granulomatosis (inflammatory vascular disease of the upper airways and lungs, also affecting the kidneys). ANCA are now commonly measured to diagnose this disease.
The project consists of a collaborative study with the aim of developing a set of assays for the detection of ANCA. The methods will be assessed in order to determine their ability to detect and quantify ANCA in a spectrum of diseases that are characterised by the inflammatory state of the blood vessels, the kidneys or the joints. This will be achieved through an interlaboratory trial to test the selected assays (in a large number of laboratories) on an elevated number of patient sera.
The project has started in 1990 and is expected to be completed before the end of 1994. Currently performed assays were compared on a limited number of patient serum samples. At present the selection of a set of solid phase assays is performed in parallel with the characterization of the antigens.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
W12 ONN London
CB2 1PZ Cambridge