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Current lupus treatments disable the immune system
In a lupus flare, the immune system attacks the body’s own cells, leading to chronic inflammation and damage. Most existing treatments suppress the immune system altogether, which can prevent a flare, but also reduces the body’s protections against all of the illnesses and pathogens the immune system is supposed to protect from.
Solution: Stop the inflammation cycle before it begins
Researchers at Duke University discovered a nucleic acid-binding polymer that cleans up the DNA and RNA left over from dead cells, which normally cause the immune system to initiate an attack.
“This debris left by dead cells can mistakenly signal to the body that there is an infection that warrants immune action, triggering the innate immune system,” said Dr. Bruce Sullenger, director of the Duke Translational Research Institute. “By selectively targeting the source of the immune activation rather than shutting off the innate immune system downstream, these nucleic acid scavengers are able to limit pathological inflammation without compromising one’s ability to fight a viral infection.”