Navigation Links
Profound immune system discovery opens door to halting destruction of lupus

(New York, NY) A researcher funded by the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) has discovered an entirely new and powerful molecular switch that controls the inflammatory response of the immune system. The major finding, reported in the December 14th issue of the journal Cell, means that new methods can now be pursued to shut down uncontrolled inflammation, restore immune system regulation, and treat chronic autoimmune disorders such as lupus.

In autoimmunity, the immune system designed to fend off outside invaders mistakenly mounts an out-of-control destructive inflammatory attack against the bodys own tissues and organs. We have found an essential switch that controls immune inflammation, said LRI award recipient, Greg Lemke, PhD, professor of Molecular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute.

The breakthrough was supported at a critical juncture by the LRI, the nations only organization solely dedicated to funding novel and innovative science to prevent, treat, and cure lupus. Without the LRI, this project would have stoppedand a fundamental discovery in immunology would not have happened, Dr. Lemke said.

Major Implications

In this study, Dr. Lemke builds upon findings that he and his team previously reported, when he noticed that mice genetically engineered to be born without a tiny family of three receptorsTAM receptor tyrosine kinasesdeveloped an autoimmune illness similar to lupus in humans.

In the Cell article, Dr. Lemke now illustrates how these TAM receptors, under normal circumstances, are so critical in stopping the immune system from mounting an out-of-control inflammatory response against invading viruses and bacteria. When chemical messengers (cytokines) prompt immune cells to attack, he explains, they also activate TAM receptors, which then alert the cells to no longer react to the cytokines. This keeps the immune system orderly as well as relatively tranquil.

But in people with lupus and certain other autoimmune illnesses, the TAM signalling network may be seriously compromised. The switch to inhibit inflammation on this network may be absentthereby resulting in immune system pandemonium.

People with lupus tend to have low levels of a blood factor (proteins S) that TAM receptors require to carry out their job. Giving modified versions of protein S, or its related TAM activator Gas6, to people with lupus may represent a means of halting the immune system destruction of precious organs and tissues. This is definitely something we intend to investigate, Dr. Lemke said.

Winning Strategy

Dr. Lemke is one of 85 recipients of $300,000, 3-year grants given by the LRI since 2000 to explore brilliant but untested novel hypotheses as to why and how lupus occurs, and what can be done to prevent and stop the illness.

Founded by families and shaped by scientists, the Institute has had remarkable success in breathing life in to ideas such as Dr. Lemkes that would otherwise not have obtained funding. LRI recipients span the nationthey are at 51 academic medical centers in 20 statesand work in such diverse disciplines as immunology, genetics, cardiology, nephrology, dermatology, and neurology.

This strategy of funding only novel scientific ideas in lupus has more than demonstrated its power, said William E. Paul, MD, chief of the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease-National Institutes of Health and chair of the LRIs Scientific Advisory Board. Through its annual support, the LRI strengthens the lupus research landscape and moves novel concepts forward to secure large-scale federal funding.

Already, LRI-funded scientists have turned the Institutes $9 million investment from 2001 to 2004 into a record $30 million in new grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other sources. Dr. Lemkes research program provides an example of this leveraging: as a result of the success of his LRI-funded work, he very recently obtained NIH funding to sustain and extend the program.


Contact: Liane Stegmaier
Lupus Research Institute

Related biology news :

1. Bursts of waves drive immune system soldiers toward invaders
2. Key to out-of-control immune response in lung injury found
3. Flies can turn off their immune response
4. How the plant immune system can drive the formation of new species
5. Auto immune response creates barrier to fertility; could be a step in speciation
6. Immune police recognize good and bad guys in the body
7. Agent that triggers immune response in plants is uncovered
8. Immune cells promote blood vessel formation in mouse endometriosis
9. Influenza vaccine causes weaker immune response for children of rural Gabon than in semi-urban areas
10. The PIN codes of the immune system can be hacked
11. Pathogens use previously undescribed mechanism to sabotage host immune system
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... Finland , June 9, 2016 ... National Police deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the ... France during the major tournament ... data communications systems and services, announced today that its video ... Prefecture to back up public safety across the ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal ... Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook ... Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their official ... Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic ... with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston Methodist ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a ... ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its ... in New York City . ... students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during ... , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: