Non Toxic Lupus Therapy on the Horizon?
New and interesting research coming from Northwestern University shows that giving various synthetic peptides (small bits of protein) might be helpful in controlling systemic lupus without using steroids or immunosuppressive medications.
However, this research is clearly preliminary and the peptides were not given to lupus patients. Rather, their blood samples were cultured (which is what is done to preserve the living cells) and then low doses of special peptides were added to the blood cultures.
So far it’s unclear whether this would be an effective treatment for lupus patients. To take the next step and start introducing the lupus peptides as a therapy injected into the blood of lupus patients by an infusion or injection, would require much regulatory work to get such a protocol improved, and significant financial backing to initiate and follow through with such a study.
But it does offer the possibility that some sort of vaccine using synthetic peptides might be an area of future treatment and could be successful in reducing the need for potentially toxic therapies for lupus patients.
Robert S. Katz, M.D.