Saliva and Salivary Glands

JILL KRAMER, DDS, PhD personal profile

Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS)

Studies in my laboratory are focused on the autoimmune disease Sjögren’s syndrome (SS).  SS is a systemic disease that has oral manifestations.  Patients with SS experience immune-mediated destruction of salivary tissue, often resulting in the loss of saliva. SS patients that develop dry mouth experience difficulty speaking, chewing, and talking, and are also more prone to dental decay. The onset of SS is insidious, with the accumulation of subtle changes in glandular function occurring over many years.  The average patient experiences SS symptoms for years before receiving a diagnosis. However, even once diagnosis is achieved, no therapeutics are available that target disease etiology; treatments for SS are only palliative.  Thus, there is a critical need to identify disease mechanisms responsible for initiating and maintaining the chronic inflammation characteristic of SS. Therefore, my laboratory seeks to identify novel therapeutic targets in order to design treatments that mitigate the oral and systemic manifestations of SS.

Another area of Dr. Kramer's research is available at Immunology and Innate Defenses