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Could Stem Cell Therapy Be the Better Treatment for MS?

May 12, 2020 10:08:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Autoimmune Disorders, Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells

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A Phase III clinical trial comparing hematopoietic stem cell transplants to immunomodulators is underway.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the destruction of the myelin sheath of nerve fibers. There is no cure for the condition, but there are a number of FDA-approved immunomodulators or disease-modifying therapies to reduce relapses and slow disease progression. Despite the availability of these drugs, their varying efficacy, adverse effects, and expense are significant concerns. Therefore, a means to safely and effectively control MS symptoms and progression is still under investigation.

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Finding Therapy for Sex-Biased Autoimmune Conditions

Apr 14, 2020 10:02:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Autoimmune Disorders, T Cells

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By observing T cells, researchers are better identifying the connections between estrogen, testosterone, and autoimmune diseases.

The most common autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel disease (IBD), and systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), affect women significantly more than men in terms of incidence, disease severity, progression, and response to therapy. Various studies have been conducted to explore the basis of the sexual dimorphism of autoimmune diseases. A prominent factor is the role of sex hormones in the sex-based differences associated with autoimmune diseases.

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Is an Unusual Immune Cell the Cause of Type I Diabetes?

Sep 24, 2019 10:20:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Autoimmune Disorders, T Cells

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Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and IBM Thomas J Watson Research Center discovered unique autoimmune cells in type 1 diabetes.

Over 30 million people living in the United States are affected by diabetes, and 5% of those have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder whereby the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. This leads to a lack of sufficient insulin needed to assist the entry of glucose into cells, causing hyperglycemia. The mechanism of this aspect is mainly unknown. However, it is held that insulin is the target of the autoimmune attack that leads to type 1 diabetes.

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The Role of Lymph Node Cells in Immune Tolerance

Sep 3, 2019 10:10:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Autoimmune Disorders, T Cells

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A recent study found the lymph node cells, much like the thymus, play a part in immune self-tolerance.

Nearly 5% of the U.S. population is affected with a devastating autoimmune disease, and this percentage is ever growing. Current treatments address organ inflammation or approach the autoimmunity with immunosuppression, which has serious and widespread side effects. In order to develop more specific and effective therapies, there must be a fuller understanding of the mechanisms by which self-tolerance develops. It is known that autoimmune diseases occur due to the immune system’s loss of tolerance to self-antigens. How and why this loss of tolerance occurs is associated with many factors, including genetic (and epigenetic), cellular, environmental, and more.

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Targeting T Cells to Treat IBD

Sep 4, 2018 10:05:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Autoimmune Disorders, T Cells, Helper T Cells

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Recent research looks into the relationship between T helper cells and the autoimmune conditions of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) caused by an immune dysfunction. People with IBD can experience diarrhea, rectal bleeding, constipation, abdominal pain and cramping, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Dysregulated responses of a subset of CD4 T cells (T helper cells) are associated with autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions and may induce and maintain intestinal inflammation, but the mechanism is not fully understood. The primary cytokine secreted by T helper cells of the intestinal mucosa of people with IBD is interferon (IFN)-gamma. Recent research was conducted to better understand the role of IFN-producing CD4 T cells in the initiation and maintenance of IBD.

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