Cushing's Syndrome Research
In the case of Cushing's syndrome, research scientists are studying the function of the adrenal glands and the role certain hormones play in the development of the hormonal disorder. They are also working on developing new methods to better diagnose the disease. People who participate in Cushing's syndrome research may have the first chance to possibly benefit from treatments that have shown promise in earlier research.
Doctors and scientists are hard at work conducting Cushing's syndrome research. Cushing's syndrome research studies are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective. This research already has led to many advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective methods for dealing with Cushing's syndrome.
Cushing's syndrome research scientists are studying the normal and abnormal function of the major endocrine glands and the many hormones of the endocrine system. Identification of the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which instructs the pituitary gland to release ACTH (adrenocorticotropin), enabled researchers to develop the CRH stimulation test, which is increasingly being used to identify the cause of Cushing's syndrome.
Improved techniques for measuring ACTH permit distinction of ACTH-dependent forms of Cushing's syndrome from adrenal tumors. Cushing's syndrome research studies have shown that petrosal sinus sampling is a highly accurate test for determining the cause of Cushing's syndrome in those people who have excess ACTH production. The dexamethasone suppression-CRH test can differentiate most cases of Cushing's syndrome from pseudo-Cushing's.
As a result of this Cushing's syndrome research, doctors are much better able to diagnose Cushing's syndrome and distinguish among the causes of this disorder. Since accurate diagnosis is still a problem for some patients, new tests are being conducted to further refine the diagnostic process.
Many more Cushing's syndrome research studies are underway to understand what causes the formation of benign endocrine tumors, such as those that cause most cases of Cushing's syndrome. In a few pituitary adenomas, specific gene defects have been identified. This may provide important clues to understanding tumor formation. Endocrine factors may also play a role. There is increasing evidence that tumor formation is a multistep process. Understanding the basis of Cushing's syndrome will help in developing new approaches to Cushing's syndrome treatment.