Anti-BDCA 2-Targeted Therapy for SLE
Our cells store their DNA by wrapping it around proteins called histones. People with lupus show abnormal immune system responses against their own DNA and against histones. She thinks that histones are a little like the substances that cause allergies — they stimulate the immune system inappropriately, but controlled exposure to them may reduce this reaction. Their strategy to prevent these “allergic” reactions involves delivering small bits of self-proteins to key immune cells known as dendritic cells, which control the responses of other immune cells. They have developed molecules known as antibodies that home in on dendritic cells and bring the histone fragments along with them. They hypothesize that exposing dendritic cells to the fragments will curb the immune system reaction against histones, and the new study will test this approach in mice that are prone to lupus. The goal is to apply their work to the development of a new therapy for lupus patients.
What this study means to people with lupus
Dr. Giltiay’s team plans to teach the immune system to tolerate the body’s own cells in much the same way that allergy shots curb abnormal reactions to allergens. This novel approach to inducing immune system “tolerance” has never been applied to lupus before and may lead to a new effective treatment.