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New findings could improve autoimmune treatments

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

New findings could help improve techniques when it comes to fighting autoimmune disorders. These disorders are common but can sometimes be hard to track and diagnose without proper lab tests.

What are autoimmune diseases?
Autoimmune diseases are certain conditions that cause the body to attack itself. The human body has a complex immune system that exists to fight infections and other diseases, but small errors in this system can cause the body to attack itself. The body accidentally makes autoantibodies, which target normal cells in the body instead of pathogens, according to the U.S. Department of Health.

Normally, T cells within the body regulate the immune system, but these cells malfunction in the instance of an autoimmune diseases. More than 23.5 million infections across the United States. Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 diabetes. Those with family histories of autoimmune diseases or who are from certain ethnic backgrounds are more susceptible to these diseases.

New research provides hope
A new study from the University of California, San Francisco, has identified a certain cell in the body that may hold the key to fighting certain autoimmune diseases. The newly-discovered cell is called an eTAC and exists in the spleen and lymph nodes of mice and humans, according to blood testing.

"The mouse model we are working with involves using T cells that normally attack the islet cells of the pancreas, specifically by recognizing a molecule called chromagranin A that is present on islet cells. But if the eTACs can get to the T cells first and display chromagranin A, they can prevent T cells from attacking the islets," said Mark Anderson, M.D., Ph.D.

Researchers found that they could control the eTAC cells in mice to save the pancreas during an infection of diabetes. The treatment works because eTAC cells cause overactive T cells, which control the immune response system, to calm down and stop attacking the body. T cells are given certain molecules to search for and destroy, but sometimes they target incorrect cells. By manipulating the eTAC cells, these T cells that are incorrectly targeting the body can be turned off completely.

For those looking to be tested for autoimmune disorders and diseases, a lab test online can be the answer. Able to be done without a visit to the doctor, these tests are accurate and safe.

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