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Putting Lupus in permanent remission
Date:11/11/2013

CHICAGO --- Northwestern Medicine scientists have successfully tested a nontoxic therapy that suppresses Lupus in blood samples of people with the autoimmune disease.

This is a positive step toward one day developing a vaccine-like therapy that could keep Lupus in remission in the human body without the use of toxic drugs.

The study was published online in Clinical Immunology, the journal of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies.

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that causes the body to create autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue and cause inflammation, pain and damage in various vital organs of the body. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, it is believed that 5 million people throughout the world have a form of lupus.

In past studies, Northwestern scientists showed that a nontoxic therapy (which uses synthetic peptides -- small bits of protein -- to generate special regulatory T cells) blocks lupus in mice that are prone to the disease.

For this new study, 30 lupus patients (10 active and 20 in remission) and 15 healthy patients were enrolled and their blood samples were cultured with low doses of the special peptides.

"We found that the peptides could not only generate regulatory T cells, but also that they block and reduce autoantibody production to almost baseline levels in the blood cultures from people with active Lupus," said Syamal Datta, M.D., senior author of the study. "This approach shows that the peptides have the potential to work like a vaccine in the human body, to boost the regulatory immune system of those with Lupus, fight autoimmune antibodies and keep the disease in remission."

Datta is a professor of medicine-rheumatology and microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Steroids and Cytoxan are the most common therapies used to help treat people with lupus and even at very low doses the
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Contact: Erin White
ewhite@northwestern.edu
847-491-4888
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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