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UCSF Finds Potential New Antibody Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases
Date:1/22/2009

Scientists at UCSF have discovered an abnormality in a patient's immune system that may lead to safer therapies for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and colitis, as well as potential new ways to treat transplant rejection.

(Vocus) January 22, 2009 -- Scientists at UCSF have discovered an abnormality in a patient's immune system that may lead to safer therapies for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and colitis, as well as potential new ways to treat transplant rejection.

The research identified antibodies from a woman's immune system that prevent infection-fighting T cells from moving through her blood stream and entering her body's organs to attack invaders such as bacteria or viruses. Findings appear in the current online edition of "The FASEB Journal," the official journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Based on studies in which the woman's antibodies were transferred into mice, researchers hope these antibodies can be used to treat patients with autoimmunity or transplant recipients whose immune systems attack a transplanted organ or tissue.

Autoimmunity occurs when the body perceives its own cells or tissue as foreign organisms and creates an immune response to itself. Autoimmune diseases affect approximately five to eight percent of Americans and their prevalence is increasing, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The majority of people with autoimmune diseases are women.

"This is the first selective antibody of its type discovered in a patient," said lead study author Edward J. Goetzl, MD, UCSF professor of medicine and immunology. "Antibodies that react more generally against blood cells, such as T cells, previously have been identified. However, this is the first to block a specific aspect of T-cell function. Our study offers a poten
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