Leading the way to a cure


Ro52 and Siglec-E as therapeutic targets in SLE

Jefferies, Caroline, PhD

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Among the various immune system abnormalities that underlie lupus are proteins called interferons that immune system cells normally release during viral infection. However, in people with lupus, these interferons are released at other times, leading to abnormally high levels. They not only trigger inflammation, but are also involved in activating the immune system to produce autoantibodies that drive the pathology of this disease. 

Thus, strategies that reduce interferon levels could also reduce lupus symptoms and slow or even halt the progression of the disease, possibly restoring the immune system to normal. Dr. Jefferies’ lab focuses on identifying just such strategies. So far, they have found two molecules called Ro52 and Siglec-E, that stem the production of interferon.

With their ALR grant, they will see if activating these proteins can reduce lupus symptoms. 

What this study means for people with lupus: This work could ultimately lead to the development of SLE treatments that target the Ro52 and Siglec-E molecules.

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