Girl's genome with severe lupus pinpoints treatment's genetic target

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There is no cure for lupus, a disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack itself.

Genome of girl with severe lupus pins down genetic target for treatments |  Science | AAAS


There is no cure for lupus, a disease that causes the body's immune system to attack itself. But researchers are now closer to understanding the genetic explanation for the puzzling condition. Thanks to this diseased child's genome, it was passed on from a rare ancestor.

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A new study points to a gene called TLR7 that helps fight the virus. When overactive, it releases the immune system on the body's organs and tissues, although TLR7 is not the only gene involved in lupus.

But targeting the activity or protein could help many patients, says Carola Vinuesa, an immunologist at the Francis Crick Institute who led the work, "TLR7 would be a central, if not central signaling pathway in lupus.

Betty Tsao of the Medical University of South Carolina, who studies the genetics of lupus, said: "It's a great article. but was not involved in this research.