The following is an overview of this condition as described on the website of the Mayo Clinic – (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lupus/symptoms-causes/syc-20365789)
“Lupus is a disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs (autoimmune disease). Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
“Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus.
“Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. While there's no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.
Red, butterfly-shaped rash on nose and cheeks
No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Most people with lupus have mild disease characterized by episodes — called flares — when signs and symptoms get worse for a while, then improve or even disappear completely for a time.
The signs and symptoms of lupus that you experience will depend on which body systems are affected by the disease. The most common signs and symptoms include:
Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure
Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods
Shortness of breath
Headaches, confusion and memory loss”
Autoimmune diseases as a class of ailments have been historically exceedingly difficult to treat. However, impressive inroads have been made in recent years using the rapidly advancing techniques embodies in immunotherapy. It has been reported in a recent issue of the prestigious scientific publication, Nature Medicine, from a medical team in Germany that five patients, four women and a man, have been successfully treated with their own immune cells that have been genetically engineered.
This technique involves isolating the patient’s own T cells – a subset of the immune system’s cellular repertoire – and genetically modifying them so that they would recognize those B cells that are involved in the autoimmune response unique to lupus and attack them by binding to a specific cell surface protein (antigen). This kind approach is referred to as T cell (CAR-T) therapy.
In this case, all five patients tolerated the therapy and their lupus-caused impaired organ function either improved or was resolved. As a result, these patients were no longer required to take immune-suppressive medication.
These results are quite encouraging and certainly are promising in regard to the treatment of lupus.
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