Developing a blood test to diagnose Behçet syndrome earlier

Research details

  • Type of funding: Project Grant
  • Grant Holder: Dr Graham Wallace
  • Institute: University of Cambridge
  • Region: East of England
  • Start date: January 2015
  • End Date: August 2016
  • Priority: Early detection
  • Eye Category: Ocular inflammatory


Behçet syndrome is an inflammatory condition that can affect many organs in the body including the eye, brain, lung and skin. The most common sign of the condition is having ulcers in the mouth or genitals.

In the UK Behçet affects around 1000 people. As it is so rare many doctors do not recognise the symptoms and a patient can go for many years and visit many doctors before they get a diagnosis and correct therapy. There is also no current test for the condition. People are diagnosed based on the doctor’s judgement.

A recent report identified a possible blood test (‘supercell analysis’) that could tell between between patients, healthy controls and patients with another similar-looking eye disorder. In this project Dr Wallace and team aim to confirm that the test works in a larger group of patients.

They also want to find out whether the test is sensitive to things like how the severe the symptoms are or how people respond to treatment. If the test holds up, it will be fairly quick and straightforward to take into the clinic as the technology needed to do the test is a standard tool within any clinic. There may also be potential to develop this type of analysis to test for other conditions.