Major breakthrough in the treatment of autoimmune diseases
In the upcoming issue of Immunity, a highly regarded journal put out by the Cell group, Dr. André Veillette, a scientist at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), and his team will publish the results of a study that could revolutionize the treatment of autoimmune diseases, such as juvenile diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Contemporary medicine has to date achieved only mixed results in dealing with these diseases, which affect hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
Dr. Veillettes team has discovered one of the basic mechanisms that control the production of antibodies by immune-system cells known as B lymphocytes or B cells. In subjects with autoimmune diseases, these lymphocytes, which are also normally responsible for fighting infection, are hyperactive, causing antibodies secreted by superactivated lymphocytes to turn against the body. This leads to the development of autoimmune diseases, which are characterized by debilitating inflammation and advanced tissue damage. Dr. Veillettes breakthrough identifies a cascade of molecular reactions involved in this type of damage, providing new therapeutic targets that could be used to reduce attacks on the pancreas in juvenile diabetes, on the kidneys in lupus, and on the joints in rheumatoid arthritis.
François Brochu | EurekAlert!
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