WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
Oct. 1, 2007 -- An experimental vaccine-like treatment helps prolong the
lives of lab mice with lupus by targeting rogue immune cells linked to the
The treatment is a form of targeted immunotherapy, and a new study shows it
prolonged the lives of mice with lupus by 10 months.
Although the results still need to be tested in humans, researchers say the
findings may offer new avenues for treating the immune system disease, which
affects 1.5 million Americans.
There is no cure for lupus, and currently available treatments, such as high
doses of steroids, come with serious side effects. The disease causes the
body’s immune system to attack its own body, causing inflammation and damage to
joints, skin, and other organs.
In the study, researchers developed an immunotherapy that targeted certain
immune cells for destruction without affecting other immune cells and tested it
in mice with lupus.
The results showed the experimental treatment greatly reduced lupus
involvement of the kidney and extended the life of the mice by about 10 months
compared with untreated animals.
Researcher Bindu Varghese of Purdue University and colleagues say the
results merit further study of the treatment approach in humans with lupus.
SOURCES: Shankar, P. Molecular Pharmaceutics, September/October2007.
News release, American Chemical Society.
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