Joint pain is a common symptom of lupus, but a chronic condition can affect almost every part of the body.

Joint pain is a common symptom of lupus, but a chronic condition can affect almost every part of the body.
Fig: Shutterstock (Shutterstock)

Scientists in Germany have discovered a new way to treat and possibly cure chronic lupus. as if Research On Thursday, the team reported that patients who were given an immunotherapy regimen currently used to treat some cancers, along with the autoantibodies that trigger the disease, achieved a lasting remission of their symptoms. However, more information is needed to confirm the potential of the treatment.

Lupus a A complex chronic diseaseIt affects 1.5 million Americans because of a dysfunctional immune system. There are several types of lupus, some of which affect certain parts of the body, such as the skin. But the most common version is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which can affect almost any part of the body. Symptoms of SLE vary from person to person, and it can take years before a person is diagnosed with lupus. That said, a common trademark of the condition is chronic inflammation, which can manifest as joint pain, fever, and skin rashes.

Most cases of lupus occur in people between the ages of 15 and 44 and have no clear cause, although a person’s genetics and environmental triggers such as viral infections are suspected to play a role. Once symptoms occur, people develop a disease outbreak. These flare-ups can be reduced or treated with treatments, but there is currently no cure for lupus itself.

The underlying defect behind lupus is antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues. These auto-antibodies are produced by the B cell population, the anti-human machinery of the immune system. There are treatments for lupus that try to deplete the body’s supply of B cells to destroy these antibodies, but these drugs have limited effectiveness to date. In recent years, supported by ancient animal data, there are some scientists Supported by theory An immune system known as CAR T cell therapy may be successful if these drugs fail.

The basic concept of CAR T cell therapy is to take a person’s T cells and train them to attack a specific target, such as a foreign germ – and identify targets on the cell surface that are difficult to find routinely in the laboratory. such as some cancer cells. But the same antigen that can be found on malignant leukemia and lymphoma B cells is also found on B cells that produce lupus autoantibodies, according to study author Georg Schett, an immunologist at the University of Nuremberg in Erlangen, Germany. This antigen is known as CD19.

In their new study Published In Nature Medicine Thursday, Sheth and his team injected five patients with treatment-resistant SLE with the modified anti-CD19 T cells. And so far, they’ve all made a remarkable recovery. After 17 months, their symptoms have all improved with no signs of lupus-related internal damage and minimal side effects from treatment. Crucially, the patients’ autoantibodies also appeared to have disappeared, perhaps for good, because the antibodies did not return after an average of 100 days after the B cells began to replenish. As a result, the patients do not need any additional treatment.

“This is unlike any other treatment to date,” Sheth told Gizmodo in an email.

These findings may herald the development of treatments for lupus. But for now, they are based on a very small sample size, and many questions remain about the therapy’s effectiveness — including whether these patients were truly cured and whether the same would be true for other lupus patients. Other research groups are studying CAR T cell therapy for lupus, however, so we’re sure we’ll have more information soon. If this research is confirmed, the therapy could dramatically change the outlook for lupus patients but also for many people with similar immune disorders — something Sheath’s team is working to study in the near future.

“Our patients are being monitored for longer periods of time If they remain healthy without treatment. We want to know whether they are cured or not, said Sheth. “We are also starting a basket study that includes different autoimmune diseases (lupus, myosis and cystic sclerosis) to move this program forward.”

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