Stanford University Medical Center researchers have developed a way to tailor therapies to combat the specific inappropriate responses of autoimmune diseases in mice. The researchers also have shown that their technique can provide information needed to predict a diseases progression. Eventually, their work may provide a way to reverse the course of such autoimmune diseases in humans as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and type-1 diabetes by first identifying the immune system culprits gone awry and then creating customized therapies for individual patients.
Researchers Bill Robinson, P. J. Utz and Lawrence Steinman published results last year showing how microarrays - glass slides spotted with minute amounts of the proteins against which the body may be reacting - can provide a profile of the antibodies targets. Their current work, which appears in the September issue of Nature Biotechnology, takes the technology a step further and shows that the pattern of antibody activation can be used to predict and treat animals suffering from a disease resembling M.S.
"Ultimately, we think the array can be used to guide patient-specific therapy," said Robinson, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (immunology and rheumatology) and lead author of the study. For example, a blood sample from a patient thought to have M.S. could be profiled using the array to help identify whether the person is likely to progress to full-blown disease and whether the individual would benefit from therapy. The information obtained in the profile could then be used to personalize therapies.
Mitzi Baker | EurekAlert!
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