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Tools & Techniques
Probing the BLyS blockade
Monday, November 19, 2001
The symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus
erythematosus (SLE) result largely from inflammatory damage to organs, but their molecular
hallmark is the production of anti-self antibodies by autoreactive B cells, which help to
trigger inflammation. Thus, the publication of the B cell survival factor BLyS in 1999
provided a new avenue for SLE therapies that act upstream from inflammation.
Separate research presented by ZymoGenetics Inc. and Biogen Inc. last
week at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in San Francisco suggests that
blockage of BLyS does have a positive effect on complications of SLE, such as nephritis.
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