‘Supercharged’ T-cells could treat autoimmune disorders

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Rheumatoid arthritis

Researchers in both academia and industry are turning to immune-suppressing cells to clamp down on autoimmune disorders, and the effort is building to a fever pitch.

T cells are often thought of as key foot soldiers in the immune system’s battle against foreign invaders. But there are many kinds of T cell, each armed with a different set of skills.

People with disorders caused by an autoimmune attack often also have reduced levels of regulatory T-cell activity, leading scientists to suspect that bolstering such cells could reduce the immune system’s attack on the body.

To boost these cells, many researchers […] are turning to a molecule called interleukin-2 (IL-2). High doses of IL-2 stimulate the ‘effector’ T cells that attack invaders.

There are still concerns about how specific the IL-2 treatment can be — any potential stimulation of effector T-cell responses in a patient who is already undergoing an autoimmune attack could be dangerous. “It’s a robust field, but a challenging field,” says Jeffrey Bluestone, an immunologist at the University of California […] “It’s still unclear that you can get a regulatory T-specific response without any other effects.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Drug companies flock to supercharged T-cells in fight against autoimmune disease