Rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis and other inflammatory autoimmune diseases have a huge impact on patients’ quality of life. Autoimmune diseases, characterized by the immune system attacking the body, affect 5 to 10% of the global population. Women are affected more usually than men. It is treatable, but autoimmune disease is incurable. Now scientists from the University of Queensland found, which cells are the best targets for a full immune system reboot.
Autoimmune disease has no cure, but there are quite effective treatments, The problem with those is that medicine has to be taken daily and it does suppress the immune system, making the person more vulnerable to various infections. For example, rheumatoid arthritis and vasculitis are relatively common, there is no cure and medication has to be taken pretty much forever. Of course, the better thing to do would be to fix that part of the immune system that’s gone wrong, but so far scientists have not been able to do that.
Togue immune T-cells are markers of inflammatory arthritis or vasculitis. Creating new therapies that could attack them would be a major priority for the entire medical science. Now scientists developed an “antigen-specific immunotherapy” and demonstrated that it can do exactly that. Professor Ranjeny Thomas, one of the authors of the study, said: “We found that dendritic cells – conductors of the immune system orchestra – absorb tiny fat bubbles we generated, restoring immune regulation. These fat bubbles, called liposomes, held the key to rebooting the immune system and calming the disease process”.
So far scientists only conducted studies with mice, but the promise of this new therapy is huge. It could be used to treat existing inflammatory autoimmune diseases, but it could also help preventing future ones. The antigen-specific liposome immunotherapy treatment, essentially, restored immune system. This study shows that inflammatory activity is not a barrier to do so. This is not the final answer, but it does bring us closer to precision medicine for human inflammatory autoimmune diseases.
Now more testing will need to be done. Those fat bubbles and their role in this situation will have to be researched in more detail. But, hopefully, within the course of several years this study will be quoted as the beginning of a breakthrough in the treatment of inflammatory autoimmune diseases.
Source: University of Queensland