For patients who suffer from lupus, their immune cells attack the body’s own tissue and organs as if they are enemy invaders. There are many kinds of lupus, but the most common and severe kind is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness called flare-ups alternating with remission.
A new Yale-led study may give some hope for those who have lupus. The study describes how a protein found in common bacteria triggers the auto-immune response. Researchers say the finding opens the door to future therapies targeting the bacteria rather than the immune system.
The research team focused on a protein, Ro60, that has been found in lupus patients even before the developed symptoms. The protein induces the immune response and production of antibodies. In the study, researchers tested blood and tissue samples from patients who suffer from SLE. They identified Ro60 in bacteria from different parts of the body, including the mouth, skin and gut.
More research is needed, but the new insight could lead to the development of personalized treatment for autoimmune diseases. For example, a topical medication could be designed to target bacteria in the skin or other organs where autoimmunity manifests.
If you have been diagnosed with lupus and have been denied your long-term care benefits from companies such as Unum, Hartford, or Cigna, the attorneys at Burke Harvey can help. Contact us today for a review of your case.