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Lupus Research Institute Awards $3.6 Million for Novel Studies Driving Wide-Ranging New Science in Lupus
Date:2/15/2012

onal Academy of Sciences member. "Always challenging scientists to push against the boundaries allows the Institute to achieve consistent breakthrough results."

Laying Groundwork for Better B-cell Targeted Therapies

LRI investigators will explore new theories on why B cells start producing autoantibodies against the body's own cells and tissues and how this could be prevented. They will also ask which type of B cell, of the many types in our immune system, produces harmful autoantibodies and whether this varies from individual to individual – insight that will aid in designing future B cell-targeted therapies and individualized treatment.

  • Dr. Eline Luning Prak, University of Pennsylvania: "We are using cutting-edge DNA- sequencing technology to identify specific B cells that may cause lupus in individual patients.  Different B-cell-targeted lupus therapies such as Benlysta® (belimumab), aim to control the disease by clearing different disease-causing B cells from the immune system. But currently physicians do not know which types of B cells should be eliminated. We hope that our study will take the guesswork out of matching B-cell treatments to patients, improving individualized therapy."
  • Dr. Alexander Tarakhovsky, Rockefeller University: "My team's exploring an entirely novel therapeutic strategy aiming to reverse autoimmunity by targeting proteins that switch on 'bad' genes in lupus B cells through a process called epigenetics."
  • Dr. Thomas L. Rothstein, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research: "We're studying whether B1 cells, a small B cell population whose identity in humans we recently described, produce harmful autoantibodies in lupus. If so, therapies could be developed targeting B1 cells without damaging healthy B cells that protect against infection."
  • Dr. William Kovacs<
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SOURCE Lupus Research Institute
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