Immune diseases like multiple sclerosis and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis unleash destructive waves of inflammation on the body, causing death or a lifetime of illness and physical impairment. With safe and effective treatments in short supply, scientists report in PNAS Early Edition (Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences) discovery of an experimental treatment that targets an Achilles heel of activated immune cells – killing them off and stopping autoimmune damage.
Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center report in a study published the week of May 22 that a treatment modality they call PPCA takes advantage of DNA damage in rapidly expanding T cells, which they show was therapeutically beneficial in mouse models of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) and multiple sclerosis (MS). And for the most part it appears to be so without harming other immune system components needed to protect the body from infection.
We found that when T cells activate and go through extraordinarily rapid cell division during initial immune responses, it leads to an unusual level of genomic stress in the cells,” explains Michael B. Jordan, MD, lead author and physician/scientist in the divisions of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Immune Deficiency and Immunobiology.
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