Posts Categorized: News & Information

Scientists reveal potential new drug target for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

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Scientists findings, published in the May 20, 2015 issue of Science Translational Medicine, could open the door to an entirely new class of medications that specifically prevents joint damage and brings relief to patients who don’t respond to available treatment regimes. Current rheumatoid arthritis treatments focus on intercepting the immune system’s misdirected attack on the lining of affected joints to alleviate the debilitating symptoms, reduce inflammation and slow the progression of the disease. “Unfortunately, for around 40 percent of patients, immune-targeted therapies are not sufficient to bring them into full remission,” says the study’s lead author Nunzio Bottini, M.D. Ph.D., associate professor at La Jolla Institute and associate professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. “If we could… Read more..

Novel Drug From Nature Shows Early Promise

Researchers are investigating whether the venoms of the sun anemone, above, which lives on reefs in the Caribbean, and other creatures such as spiders and snakes could yield new medical treatments. Photo: Kineta Inc.

[5/9/15] A biotechnology company developing an unusual drug—derived from the venom of a sea anemone to treat autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and multiple sclerosis—reported encouraging results from a phase 1 clinical trial. Seattle-based Kineta Inc. said it expects early next year to begin recruiting patients for the next stage of the drug’s development, a phase 2 clinical trial. Kineta said the drug, called dalazatide, is intended to block only the white blood cells that cause many autoimmune diseases. Traditional treatments for autoimmune disorders suppress the entire immune system, putting patients at risk for infections. Phase 1 trials are preliminary, meant to test the safety and tolerability of a new drug in a small group of patients. The bulk of new… Read more..

New method to map autoimmune disease

3d rendered depiction of Stem Cells and a human figure.

[4/23/15] What role does our genetic makeup play in autoimmune diseases – diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis wherein the body’s own immune system turns on itself? That question has plagued researchers for decades. However, a new gene mutation has been discovered that could help scientists map an autoimmune disease in the body and find out how the immune system is inappropriately triggered to attack the body. Researchers in a new study at the University of Edinburgh have honed in on five of 89 independent variations in human genetics that are believed to be responsible for autoimmune conditions, from celiac disease and multiple sclerosis to rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Understanding how these mechanisms work could help scientists to develop new treatments…. Read more..

Autoimmune disorder may lead to psychosis in children

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[4/8/15] Researchers have revealed the presence of two antibodies in a subgroup of children experiencing their first episode of psychosis, affirming a longstanding recognition that autoimmune disorders play a significant role in psychiatric illness. Researchers from the Kids Research Institute at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney detected antibodies to the dopamine-2 receptor (D2R) or the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) among eight out of 43 children experiencing their first episode of psychosis, but no such antibodies in healthy children. Both receptors are key neural signalling proteins previously implicated in psychosis. Dopamine is a chemical messenger aiding the transmission of signals in the brain and other areas of the body. Abnormalities in dopaminergic neurotransmission play a key… Read more..

Researchers find key factors that could lead to autoimmunity treatment

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[4/4/15] A team of co-researchers from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology and Harvard Medical School believes that regulatory T cells formed right after birth may be the key to supressing autoimmune disorders. Regulatory T cells in a newborn baby are much more effective in tackling autoimmunity or metabolic disease. This new discovery could be the key in developing treatment for cell disorders. The researchers confirmed that newborn T cells are much more effective than T cells produced in adulthood. Regulatory T cells are suppressive cells that are essential to modulate the immune system. A deficiency of these cells can lead to the development of autoimmune disorders where the body attacks its own cells and tissues, for example… Read more..

Type 1 Diabetes Cure on the Horizon?

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  [3/24/15] This week the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) unveiled what could one day represent not just a symptom-abating therapy, but a genuine cure for type 1 diabetes. According to a study published in the March issue of Endocrinology, TSRI researchers tested an experimental compound known as SR1001 in non-obese but diabetic animal models and observed that it completely stopped type 1 diabetes from developing. Specifically, researchers noted that SR1001 completely eliminated the incidence of diabetes, it maintained insulin levels, and it reduced inflammation associated with insulin-producing cells, which is a common occurrence in type 1 diabetic patients. By targeting a specific pair of receptors with SR1001, researchers were able to suppress a targeted immune response that creates Th17 cells,… Read more..

Groundbreaking research about gut bacteria shows it could be the key to health

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[3/18/15] The microbiome is big news in health this year. Fortune Magazine has declared 2015 The Year of the Microbiome, and there is significant research going on to fully understand its complex relationship to health and disease, notably the multimillion-dollar five-year Human Microbiome Project. But what is is? And why is getting so much attention? Did you know you have ten times more bacteria in your gut than human cells? Millions are being spent on research to uncover its crucial role in health and disease. Scientists have become very interested about what’s in our stomachs.We have more bacteria in our body than we do human cells, up to ten times more. Most of them are in our intestines; we each have literally trillions of bacteria… Read more..

New insights into autoimmune disease mechanisms

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[3/4/15] A new genomic study reveals a link between powerful gene regulatory elements and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Autoimmune disorders result when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue; different tissues are affected in different diseases; about 80 have been recognised. The causes of these diseases are not well understood, but scientists believe there is a genetic component as they often run in families. It can be challenging to identify specific genetic risk factors for autoimmune disease, since in most cases they are the result of a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors. However, it is useful; Stephen Katz, Director of the US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)… Read more..

Exposure to mercury, seafood associated with risk factor for autoimmune disease

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[2/10/15] One of the greatest risk factors for autoimmunity among women of childbearing age may be associated with exposure to mercury such as through seafood, a new University of Michigan study says. The findings, which appear in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that mercury – even at low levels generally considered safe – was associated with autoimmunity. Autoimmune disorders, which cause the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells by mistake, affects nearly 50 million Americans and predominately women. “We don’t have a very good sense of why people develop autoimmune disorders,” says lead author Emily Somers, Ph.D., Sc.M, an associate professor in the departments of Internal Medicine in the division of Rheumatology, Environmental Health Sciences, and Obstetrics & Gynecology at… Read more..

FDA Approves New Psoriasis Drug

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  [1/22/15]  A new drug to treat adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis was approved Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. People with plaque psoriasis, the most common form of the autoimmune skin disease, develop thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales. In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue by mistake. The new drug, Cosentyx (secukinumab), is injected under the skin. The drug blocks a protein involved in the inflammatory response that causes plaque psoriasis, according to the FDA. “Plaque psoriasis can cause significant skin irritation and discomfort for patients, so it is important to have a variety of treatment options available to patients,” Dr. Amy Egan, deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation… Read more..