Leading the way to a cure


Monoclonal Antibodies Neutralizing Interferon-alpha to Treat SLE

Nicolette, Charles, PhD

Argos Therapeutics, Inc.

Currently, people with lupus are treated with a variety of drugs that have only partial benefit and have damaging side effects that limit their use. Lupus, particularly in children, can be an aggressive disease and better, more specific, treatments with fewer side effects are urgently needed. Previous ALR-funded studies led by Dr. Jacques Banchereau (Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, Dallas, Texas) provide strong evidence that interferon-alpha—a protein that has multiple effects on the immune system—contributes to immune system abnormalities in adults and children with lupus. To translate this discovery into a useful product, antibodies have been developed that bind to and neutralize the biological activity of interferon-alpha from the blood of lupus patients in test-tube experiments. Dr. Nicolette, in collaboration with Dr. Banchereau and colleagues, is developing an antibody product suitable for human use that targets interferon-alpha and blocks its effects on immune cells. The ultimate aim of their study is to test the hypothesis that neutralizing interferon-alpha will provide significant relief to lupus patients, with an expectation that side effects will be far less severe than with current treatments.

What this study means for people with lupus: If initial studies with an antibody that blocks interferon-alpha activity in lupus patients yield promising results, they could lead to the development of a new, more specific and effective therapy for both young people and adults who have lupus.

1.5 million

people in the U.S. have Lupus.

172 million

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