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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Researchers Document Rogue Cells at Heart of Autoimmune Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Cracking the autoimmune code could lead to new treatments for celiac disease.

    Researchers Document Rogue Cells at Heart of Autoimmune Disease - Cracking the autoimmune code could lead to new treatments for celiac disease. Image: CC0 1.0--uci_innovation
    Caption: Cracking the autoimmune code could lead to new treatments for celiac disease. Image: CC0 1.0--uci_innovation

    Celiac.com 03/31/2020 - There are over one-hundred different autoimmune diseases. One thing they have in common is that they are driven by the body's own cells; by rare and elusive immune cells that target the body's own healthy organs and tissues, instead of harmful foreign bacteria and viruses. Researchers call such cells 'rogue cells." For the first time, a team led by researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have used patient samples to document the existence of specific cells that cause autoimmune disease. They also figured out the mechanism that allows cells to 'go rogue' by evading checkpoints that normally stop immune cells from targeting the body's own tissues.

    "We have developed a technique that allows us to look directly at the cells that cause autoimmune disease—it's as though we're looking through a new microscope lens for the first time, learning more about autoimmune disease than was ever possible before," says Professor Chris Goodnow, co-senior author of the paper, and Executive Director of the Garvan Institute and Director of the UNSW Sydney Cellular Genomics Futures Institute.

    Potential for New Diagnosis and Treatments



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    In addition to revealing the root cause of an autoimmune disease, the research findings offer huge potential for future treatments to target the cause of all autoimmune diseases.

    "Current treatments for autoimmune disease address only the symptoms, but not the cause. To make more targeted treatments that address disease development and progression, we first need to understand the cause...Identifying these rogue immune cells is a significant step forward for how we study autoimmune disease—and crucially the first step to finding ways to eliminate them from the body entirely," says Professor Goodnow.

    "In our study, we uncovered specific mutations that mark early stages of autoimmune disease. If we can diagnose a patient at these stages, it may be possible to combine our knowledge of these mutations with new targeted treatments for lymphoma to intervene in disease progression or to track how well a patient is responding to treatments," says Dr. Reed.

    The researchers are now planning follow-up studies to investigate mutations of autoimmune cells in a range of other diseases, including lupus, celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.

    The team's findings, published in the journal Cell today, are part of the visionary Hope Research program, could lead to major advances in the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune disease.

    Read more in MedicalExpressNews.com


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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
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    ARI's mission is to "reduce the time of diagnosis, support research, compute prevalence statistics, and establish autoimmune disease as a major class of disease so that it receives the awareness of the public, the attention of healthcare providers, and the appropriate funding needed to improve upon existing treatment protocols and disease management strategies."
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    Researchers currently estimate that anywhere from 9 million to 50 million people in the United States have an autoimmune disease. That's quite a wide range. Pinpointing the actual prevalence is part of what ARI will try to do. So, they are reaching out directly to patients to information about diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, psoriasis, diabetes, Crohn's, celiac disease, Sjogren's syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS), and many others fall under the autoimmune umbrella.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/13/2017 - A team of researchers recently set out to determine whether hospital admission for autoimmune disease is associated with an elevated risk of future admission for dementia.
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    The pair set up their retrospective, record-linkage cohort study using national hospital care and mortality administrative data from 1999–2012. From that patient data, they assembled a study group of people admitted to hospital with a range of autoimmune diseases, along with a control group, and followed forward in time to see if how many patients eventually developed dementia.
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    Source:
    BMJ


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/25/2018 - A team of Yale University researchers discovered that bacteria in the small intestine can travel to other organs and trigger an autoimmune response. In this case, they looked at Enterococcus gallinarum, which can travel beyond the gut to the spleen, lymph nodes, and liver. The research could be helpful for treating type 1 diabetes, lupus, and celiac disease.
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    The team found that administering an antibiotic or vaccine to target E. gallinarum suppressed the autoimmune reaction in the mice and prevented the bacterium from growing. "When we blocked the pathway leading to inflammation," says senior study author Martin Kriegel, "we could reverse the effect of this bug on autoimmunity."
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    This study indicates that gut bacteria may be the key to treating chronic autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus and autoimmune liver disease. Numerous autoimmune conditions have been linked to gut bacteria.
    Read the full study in Science.


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 09/04/2019 - Class II human leukocyte antigen (HLA) allele combinations exert strong genetic control over susceptibility to numerous autoimmune diseases. Researchers know that these genes are the most significant risk factors for Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, but they still know very little about how HLA influences the makeup of the human gut microbiome, which could be an environmental factor for disease susceptibility. 
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    Read more in Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 3621 (2019)
     
    The researchers in this study are variously affiliated with the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; the Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal do Pampa, São Gabriel, Brazil; the Crown Princess Victoria Children’s Hospital, Region Östergötland, Division of Pediatrics, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; the Immunogenetics Laboratory, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, and Clinical Microbiology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland; the Department of Pathology, University of Florida Diabetes Institute, Gainesville, FL, USA; the Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; and the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.


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