Scientists at Yale University have designed and tested a drug delivery system that shows early promise for improved treatment of lupus and other chronic, uncured autoimmune diseases.
Scientists at Yale University have designed and tested a drug delivery system that shows early promise for improved treatment of lupus and other chronic, uncured autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes.
In systemic lupus erythematosus, the body attacks itself for largely mysterious reasons, leading to serious tissue inflammation and organ damage. Current drug treatments address symptoms only and can require life-long daily use at toxic doses.
In a study published online 1 March in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Yale researchers report using biodegradable nanoparticles to deliver relatively low drug doses that extended the lives of laboratory animals.
In tests on mice, prophylactic use of the drug-laden nanoparticles, called nanogels, increased by three months the median survival time of lupus-prone mice, and by two months mice that already had severe kidney damage, a common consequence of lupus.
''Three months of a mouse's life is roughly equivalent to more than eight years of a human life, so this is dramatic,'' said Tarek Fahmy, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Yale, a principal investigator of the paper. ''We'll keep at this, because the potential for human benefit is clear and promising.''