Recent study offers a promising approach to treat inflammatory autoimmune disorders such as lupus, multiple sclerosis. The novel mechanism uses molecules called polymers to mop up the debris of damaged cells before the immune system becomes abnormally active.
The discovery, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers a promising new approach to treat inflammatory auto-immune disorders such as lupus and multiple sclerosis, which are marked by an overactive immune response.
"Depending on the disease, cells that are damaged drive or perpetuate the immune response," said Bruce A. Sullenger, Ph.D., director of the Duke Translational Research Institute and senior author of the study. "We have shown that we can inhibit that process."
Sullenger said the idea for the new approach stems from earlier findings by Duke scientists and others that dying and diseased cells spill nucleic acids – the building blocks of life that include DNA and RNA – that then circulate at high levels in the bloodstream.
While DNA and RNA inside the cell regulate important functions such as growth and division, outside of cells in the blood, these nucleic acids serve as powerful signals to the immune system that something is amiss. Once activated, the immune system launches an attack to fight whatever caused the cell damage, whether an infection or toxic substance. Under normal circumstances, this inflammatory response eventually restores order.
Read more: New Approach to Treat Autoimmune Disorders | MedIndia http://www.medindia.net/news/New-Approach-to-Treat-Autoimmune-Disorders-89259-1.htm#ixzz1VJAaq6mN
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