Identifying and isolating the signature of these rogue clones can provide information about whether a drug therapy is working or not.
Lupus affects 20,000 people in Australia, 1.5 million people in US, and 5 million worldwide.
A medical breakthrough revealed the structure of ‘rogue clones’ that cause Lupus, which could help identify early signs of the debilitating autoimmune disease and develop effective treatments.
Normally a healthy immune system helps our body fight off infections, viruses and diseases by identifying and destroying them.
But when a person suffers from Lupus, their immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign invaders and their own healthy tissues.
The result is an autoimmune attack causing severe fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes and damage to kidneys, lungs, the brain and blood vessels. Symptoms and severity can depend on individual circumstances.
Professor Tom Gordon, head of immunology at Flinders University says identifying and tracking down the molecular signatures of ‘rogue clones’ could lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments.
“Lupus can present in hundreds of different and unpredictable ways, making the diagnosis difficult, particularly when the methods for measuring anti-dsDNA autoantibodies are decades old and give no information on their molecular composition”.
He elaborated, “We have advanced from measuring the level of autoantibody to breaking down their precise clonal components. Identifying and isolating the signature of these rogue clones can provide information about whether a drug therapy is working or not.”
It may now be possible to associate particular clones to symptoms of the disease and organ involvement while identifying new treatments before they cause irreversible damage.
“We can now focus on developing targeted novel therapies aimed at removing rogue cells in the blood, to prevent it from ever forming its own army of clones, effectively stopping the disease before it takes hold completely,” he said. [APBN]