Targeting type II NKT Cells for a Novel Therapeutic in Lupus
Dr. Kumar found that certain immune cells accumulate in the kidneys of mice with a lupus-like disease. His research has shown that molecules structurally related to sulfatide that stimulate these cells can prevent kidney disease in animal models of lupus. One such analog has been used for the treatment for the tropical disease leishmaniasis. In his new study, he wants to determine whether this lipid analog can reduce kidney damage in lupus-prone mice. If successful, the results could lead to clinical trials to examine whether the selflipid analogs can also serve as a treatment for kidney disease in lupus patients.
What this study means to people with lupus
Some immune cells drive renal damage in lupus, but others serve a protective role. Dr. Kumar ’s lab is testing a novel hypothesis backed by his preliminary data; he will explore a drug used to fight tropical parasites as a potential oral medication to prevent and treat kidney damage in lupus.