New DNA-like compounds show promise to treat lupus

May 28th, 2009 - 12:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 28 (ANI): A University of Iowa researcher has announced the creation of DNA-like compounds that effectively inhibit the cells responsible for systemic lupus erythematosus, an incurable chronic autoimmune condition that damages the skin, joints and internal organs.

Dr. Petar Lenert, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa Roy Carver College of Medicine, demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of class R inhibitory oligonucleotides in laboratory experiments.

“The increased potency of class R inhibitory oligonucleotides for certain cells involved in lupus flare-ups could help patients by providing specific inhibition, yet allowing them to generate a protective immune response when needed,” said Lenert, whose research team also included experts from Boston University School of Medicine.

During periodic flare-ups in people with lupus, the immune system overreacts and mistakenly attacks cells and tissues throughout the body. This results in a range of symptoms like inflammation, pain and a characteristic “butterfly rash” across the cheeks.

Lenert and his colleagues used human cell lines and isolated mouse cells for their study, and showed that the DNA-like compounds were able to selectively reduce the activity of two types of immune cells called autoreactive B cells and dendritic cells.

The researchers said that the compounds, when given to mice with lupus, proved their effectiveness by delaying death and reducing kidney damage.

“With further testing, we hope that class R inhibitory oligonucleotides may become another weapon in the fight against lupus,” Lenert said.

A research article on the study has been published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy. (ANI)

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