Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital research team makes medical breakthrough

The St. Paul's Hospital medical research team behind the breakthrough. St. Paul's Foundation

A team at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver has discovered a new test to diagnose a rare disease, known only as IGG-4RD.

Rheumatologist Dr. Mollie Carruthers, an expert in treating it, said most patients initially receive the wrong treatment.

She said it’s often confused with cancer because it forms masses in the body.

“IGG4 Related Disease is a hard disease to explain to people. That’s because it’s an immune mediated disease that can go basically anywhere in the body,” Carruthers said.

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“In order to make a diagnosis it can be quite challenging, because not everyone is going to present something like chest pain, like in a heart attack. So you have to have good lab tests in order to help lead you towards a diagnosis.”

The condition is treatable, which is why Carruthers says an accurate diagnosis is so important.

Thanks to the team at St. Paul’s, patients can receive the correct treatment right from the start, she added.

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