More Support for Destroying Immune Cells to Improve Function

The selective destruction of immune cells in the old should greatly improve their failing immune function. Much of that decline results from an imbalance of cell types, while other issues such as autoimmune diseases may be the result of a small population of misconfigured cells: "Aberrant production of autoantibodies by inappropriately self-reactive plasma cells is an inherent characteristic of autoimmune diseases. Several therapeutic strategies aim to deplete the plasma cell pool, or to prevent maturation of B cells into plasma cells. However, accepted views of B-cell biology are changing; recent findings show that long-lived plasma cells [contribute] to the maintenance of humoral memory and, in autoimmunity, to autoreactive memory. As a consequence of their longevity and persistence, long-lived plasma cells can support chronic inflammatory processes in autoimmune diseases by continuously secreting pathogenic antibodies, and they can contribute to flares of symptoms. As long-lived plasma cells are not sufficiently eliminated by current therapies, these findings are extremely relevant to the development of novel concepts for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Thus, long-lived plasma cells appear to be a promising new therapeutic target." It would be a good day for a great many patients if it turns out that autoimmune diseases can be eliminated or greatly reduced in severity by destroying just a small population of cells. We already know that complete destruction and recreation of the immune system works, so this seems like a reasonable direction to explore.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21283146

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