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Discovery made to switch off autoimmune diseases

Written by: QMI Agency
 

Sep. 3, 2014

(kostrez/Fotolia)


British researchers have discovered a way to make autoimmune disease cells protect the body's tissue instead of destroy it.

Scientists at the University of Bristol were able to selectively target cells that cause autoimmune disease, dampen their aggression against the body's own tissues, and convert them into cells capable of protecting against disease.

The treatment on the cells changes the gene expression, which is what makes a cell switch from attacking the body to protecting it.

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It's a conversion that has previously been applied to allergies, called allergic desensitization.

The discovery is the next step in developing treatment for autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, Graves' disease and systemic lupus erythematosus, the researchers said.

"These findings have important implications for the many patients suffering from autoimmune conditions that are currently difficult to treat," researcher David Wraith said in a press release.

The research was published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications.

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