Posted in General, tagged Autoimmune Disorders, Research on August 14, 2009|
MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune response attacks the central nervous system, almost as if the body had become allergic to itself, leading to progressive physical and cognitive disability.
The new treatment, appropriately named GIFT15, puts MS into remission by suppressing the immune response. This means it might also be effective against other autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease, lupus and arthritis, the researchers said, and could theoretically also control immune responses in organ transplant patients. Moreover, unlike earlier immune-supppressing therapies which rely on chemical pharamaceuticals, this approach is a personalized form of cellular therapy which utilizes the body’s own cells to suppress immunity in a much more targeted way.
GIFT15 is a chimera, meaning it consists of two proteins fused together which as a single unit suppress the immune response. According to the scientists, this may work the same way in humans as in mice. If so, this is a tremendous breakthrough and very exciting news.
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Here’s some more insight into celiac disease. Read an earlier 3healthymonkeys article on it here.
There are three major contributing factors to celiac disease.
- Genetic variants of histocompatibility leukocyte antigens (HLAs), specifically, HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8, seem to cause a heightened immune sensitivity to gluten. 95% of people with celiac disease have at least one of those variants, compared to 30-40% in the general population.
- CD patients also tend to have other genetic predispositions, such as a propensity for overproducing the immune stimulant IL-15 and for harboring hyperactive immune cells that prime the immune system to attack the gut in response to gluten.
- Zonulin is a protein which affects the permeability of the small intestine. In order for the gluten to trigger the immune response, it need to slip through the cracks in the normally well sealed lining of the small intestine. Gluten itself may trigger abnormally high levels of zonulin to be secreted, possibly due to genetics.
Disrupting the part of the process which allows gluten to enter the bloodstream, for example, through a zonulin inhibitor, is an active area of clinical research.
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While it’s been known that the incidence of celiac is on the rise, it hasn’t been clear whether doctors are simply looking for it more often, and therefore finding more cases. But new research from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., suggests that the disease is four times more common today than it was in the 1950s, and not just because doctors are more likely to test for it.
People with celiac disease suffer an autoimmune response when they eat anything with gluten, a protein found mostly in wheat.
The trend is concerning because celiac disease is often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome or another condition. It’s been estimated that for every person diagnosed with celiac disease, another 30 people have it but haven’t been diagnosed. Once diagnosed, the disease can be managed by eating a gluten-free diet. But when people don’t know they have the problem and continue to eat gluten-containing products, the intestines become severely damaged, leading to long-term health problems and a higher risk of dying compared to people who don’t have celiac.
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