Radical lupus treatment uses CAR T-cell therapy developed for cancer

Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus, is caused by an erroneous reaction of the immune system against the DNA of people. It is driven by B cells producing antibodies against DNA released by dying cells. It is currently treated with drugs that suppress the immune system or, in more severe cases, with drugs that kill the B cells. However, the treatments cannot kill all the B cells, and if the disease worsens, some people develop kidney failure and inflammation of the heart and brain. However, CAR T-cell therapy has put all five people with lupus treated so far into remission. The participants were followed for an average of 8 months, with the first person treated 17 months ago. CAR T cells were barely detectable after one month, and after three and a half months, the volunteers’ B cells began to return, having been produced by bone marrow stem cells. These new B cells did not react against the DNA. Researchers don’t know what normally causes B cells to react against DNA in people with lupus, so it’s possible that some kind of trigger could restart the process. This realization means that CAR T cells may also be useful against other antibody-driven autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, in which the immune system attacks nerves. 

Radical lupus treatment uses CAR T-cell therapy developed for cancer - Blog

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