Discovering how antibody-producing B cells are regulated, and why disease-causing antibodies accumulate in lupus.
Getting at the Source of Autoantibodies: Dr. Tarlinton’s project targets the cells that produce the disease-causing autoantibodies in lupus. The life span of these antibody secreting cells, which are called plasma cells, is normally controlled by a protein inside them called Lyn. In lupus, harmful plasma cells survive, possibly due to abnormally low levels of Lyn. Dr. Tarlinton will search for drug candidates that can remove these plasma cells by mimicking the effects of Lyn.
Potential for Personalized Treatment: Dr. Smith's group has discovered that lupus patients who develop more severe disease have a distinctive pattern of genes turned on in their white blood cells. He and his group will investigate whether this gene pattern can be used as a practical test for long-term lupus prognosis. Such a predictive test would allow for safer and more effective personalized treatment. They will also explore what causes this gene pattern, in the search for new treatment strategies.
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