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John Zhang, DVM, PhD

Associate Professor Microbiology and Immunology
Medical University of South Carolina

A Novel Approach for Treating Lupus by Inhibiting Fli1 Transcription Factor

Lupus patients with active disease produce higher-than-normal amounts of the protein Fli-1 in their immune cells. The more of the protein they make, the worse their symptoms are. He has found that the drug topotecan, a therapy for ovarian cancer and other types of cancers, curbs production of Fli-1 and reduces the signs of inflammation in cells. He will test whether the drug has beneficial effects in lupus-prone mice. His results will help demonstrate whether the drug has potential as a lupus treatment in patients


What this study means to people with lupus

Dr. Zhang’s team is confirming their initial findings and now testing in human cells whether the chemotherapy topotecan could offer an effective treatment to reduce inflammation in lupus. Topotecan blocks Fli-1, a protein Dr. Zhang and his team have determined worsens lupus symptoms.

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