New Vaccine May Treat Lupus

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Oct. 1, 2007 — An experimental vaccine-like treatment helps prolong thelives of lab mice with lupus by targeting rogue immune cells linked to thedisease.

The treatment is a form of targeted immunotherapy, and a new study shows itprolonged the lives of mice with lupus by 10 months.

Although the results still need to be tested in humans, researchers say thefindings may offer new avenues for treating the immune system disease, whichaffects 1.5 million Americans.

There is no cure for lupus, and currently available treatments, such as highdoses of steroids, come with serious side effects. The disease causes thebody’s immune system to attack its own body, causing inflammation and damage tojoints, skin, and other organs.

New Option for Lupus Treatment

In the study, researchers developed an immunotherapy that targeted certainimmune cells for destruction without affecting other immune cells and tested itin mice with lupus.

The results showed the experimental treatment greatly reduced lupusinvolvement of the kidney and extended the life of the mice by about 10 monthscompared with untreated animals.

Researcher Bindu Varghese of Purdue University and colleagues say theresults merit further study of the treatment approach in humans with lupus.

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