Oct. 1, 2007 -- An experimental vaccine-like treatment helps prolong the lives of lab mice with lupus by targeting rogue immune cells linked to the disease.
The treatment is a form of targeted immunotherapy, and a new study shows it prolonged the lives of mice with lupus by 10 months.
Although the results still need to be tested in humans, researchers say the findings may offer new avenues for treating the immune system disease, which affects 1.5 million Americans.
There is no cure for lupus, and currently available treatments, such as high doses of steroids, come with serious side effects. The disease causes the body’s immune system to attack its own body, causing inflammation and damage to joints, skin, and other organs.
New Option for Lupus Treatment
In the study, researchers developed an immunotherapy that targeted certain immune cells for destruction without affecting other immune cells and tested it in mice with lupus.
The results showed the experimental treatment greatly reduced lupus involvement of the kidney and extended the life of the mice by about 10 months compared with untreated animals.
Researcher Bindu Varghese of Purdue University and colleagues say the results merit further study of the treatment approach in humans with lupus.