Eastman Dental Institute


UCL Eastman given major grant for innovative Sjogren’s syndrome trial

28 September 2016

Dr Stefano Fedele

Researchers at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute and the UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital have been awarded a £439,000 grant by Arthritis Research UK to test an innovative treatment for the UK’s second most common rheumatic disease.

Sjogren’s syndrome is a debilitating, chronic autoimmune disorder causing persistent dry mouth and dry eyes symptoms, as well as fatigue and joint pain.

The constant gritty, sandpaper-like sensation that patients have in their mouths has a notable negative impact upon their ability to speak, chew and swallow food, sleep, as well as oral health and mood.

The Eastman project, called SALRISE, runs in conjunction with specialists from eight UK hospitals and will trial a novel treatment which uses electrosimulation to increase saliva production. It will recruit 130 participants with primary Sjogren’s syndrome who will use the experimental treatment or placebo for 12 months.

Lead researcher Dr Stefano Fedele said: “There remains no definitive therapy for Sjogren’s syndrome, and available treatments are not very effective or are burdened by adverse effects.

“SALRISE has the potential to revolutionise the way we manage the salivary gland dysfunction and related dry mouth symptoms of this condition.

“This project follows our earlier feasibility study which suggested that there is potential benefit to patients using a removable device which is applied into the mouth and delivers subtle electric stimuli to the nerves controlling salivation.

“We are extremely grateful to Arthritis Research UK for supporting our research and we look forward to working with the multidisciplinary team of consultants and clinical investigators over the next five years.”