Why do more women than men get autoimmune diseases? There are more than 80 autoimmune diseases that can be life-altering, even life-threatening. These occur when the immune system goes awry and mistakenly attacks healthy parts of the body rather than infectious invaders such as bacteria and viruses. It’s often described as the body’s inability to distinguish “self” from “non-self.” Autoimmune diseases afflict 23.5 million Americans, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, although the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association estimates the number at more than twice that. Women account for nearly 80 percent of all cases — for reasons not well understood. Most often, they hit women in their reproductive years, often complicating pregnancy. The immune system produces… Read more..
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When the immune system attacks the body it can go unnoticed, but the attack gradually strengthens until it has developed into full blown rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or another type of autoimmune disease. Scientists have now discovered how the immune system intensifies its attack. The discovery could help with the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune diseases before they cause too much damage. “It’s a big step in the right direction towards developing medicine targeted at halting the negative spiral set in motion by the immune system,” says co-author, Assistant Professor Søren Egedal Degn, from the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University, Denmark. The new study is published in the scientific journal Cell. “The results emphasise the significance of cooperation between the… Read more..
Researchers in both academia and industry are turning to immune-suppressing cells to clamp down on autoimmune disorders, and the effort is building to a fever pitch. Recently, pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly of Indianapolis, Indiana, announced that it would pay up to US$400 million to support the development of a drug — which entered clinical trials in March — that stimulates these cells, called regulatory T cells. And in January, Celgene of Summit, New Jersey, announced plans to buy a company working on a similar therapy for $300 million. Other companies, from tiny biotechs to pharmaceutical heavyweights, are also investing in an approach that could yield treatments for a variety of disorders caused by an immune attack on the body’s own… Read more..
Aclara Research released the results of The Illinois Medical Cannabis Patient Experience Study, the first of Illinois patients since the inception of the pilot program in 2012. The study is the largest and most comprehensive look at the impact of the statewide program, examining nearly 300 of the 18,000 Illinois residents registered. The Aclara Research study found that 86 percent of survey respondents are managing leading symptoms of chronic pain. While chronic pain is not one of the 41 qualifying conditions in Illinois, cannabis shows strong potential in treating autoimmune diseases in which chronic inflammation plays a central role. Key findings from the study include: • Key gender gaps within the health care system as well as medical cannabis use: ◦… Read more..
Bacteria naturally present in our gut may be central for reversing inflammation detected in gut inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). That finding was reported in the study “NLRP12 attenuates colon inflammation by maintaining colonic microbial diversity and promoting protective commensal bacterial growth,” which was published in the journal Nature Immunology. Researchers at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center discovered that human patients suffering from ulcerative colitis, one of the most common types of IBD, carry significant lower levels of a protein called NLRP12. “At this point we have limited treatment options and no cure for people with inflammatory bowel disease,” Justin E. Wilson, PhD, research assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Genetics, said in… Read more..
The diagnoses of autoimmune diseases are increasing. A recent review of literature concluded that worldwide rates of rheumatic, endocrinological, gastrointestinal, and neurological autoimmune diseases are increasing by 4 to 7 percent per year, with the greatest increases seen in celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and myasthenia gravis (a rapid fatigue of the muscles), and the greatest increases occurring in countries in the Northern and Western Hemispheres. But are autoimmune diseases really rising, or are doctors more educated on the symptoms and signs of them and therefore able to diagnose patients more effectively? It’s a bit of both, according to Geoff Rutledge, M.D., Ph.D., a California-based physician and chief medical officer at HealthTap.”It is true that as we broaden the definitions of autoimmune… Read more..
The average monthly cost of drugs to treat inflammatory conditions was more than $3,000 in 2015, according to Express Scripts’ 2015 Drug Trend Report, released in March 2016. Additionally, per member per year spend on drugs to treat autoimmune diseases was $89.10 in 2015, making inflammatory conditions the leading specialty therapy class as well as the leading class overall in the report. “Spending on autoimmune drugs continues to increase and utilization is rising,” says April Kunze, PharmD, senior director, clinical formulary development and trend management strategy, Prime Therapeutics. “Autoimmune is the number one specialty drug spend category at Prime Therapeutics within our commercially insured business, comprising approximately one in 10 dollars spent on all drug expenditures through the medical and… Read more..
The discovery of a vaccine for the autoimmune disease diabetes was announced on 18 September 2016 by a web site called Time for You. It published an article reporting that “The vaccine against diabetes promises to be the solution for the advance of the illness and even reverses its effects.” The story cited work of two supposed Mexican scientists, Salvador Chacón Ramírez, president of the “Live Your Diabetes Foundation,” and Lucila Zárate Ortega, of the “Mexican Association for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases,” along with Doctor Jorge González Ramírez, using a therapy called “auto-chemotherapy.” According to the Time for You article (which appeared to rely on a bad auto-translation), the procedure for immunizing against diabetes works as follows: About 5 cm… Read more..
Johnson & Johnson recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s blockbuster psoriasis drug, Stelara, for use in adults with Crohn’s disease. The drug is approved in the United States to treat the skin condition scaly plaque psoriasis and a type of arthritis associated with psoriasis. Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory condition in the gastrointestinal tract, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and fever. It affects about 700,000 Americans and nearly 250,000 Europeans, according to the company. The drug, which blocks two inflammation-causing proteins IL-12 and IL-23, is one of J&J’s largest revenue generators, with sales of about $2.5 billion in 2015. Late-stage trial data showed Stelara induced remissions in moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease patients who… Read more..
In a study published online this week in Science Translational Medicine, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome report that resolvins and maresins, molecules produced in the body naturally from certain omega-3 fatty acids, regulate subsets of white blood cells that play a central role in inflammation and the immune system. The new findings suggest that resolvins and maresins are part of a new class of molecules that may be useful for treating chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Resolvins and maresins, first discovered by Charles N. Serhan, PhD, director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at BWH, are critical to terminate and resolve acute inflammation. Uncontrolled inflammation or failure to resolve… Read more..