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Health Agencies Update
December 26, 2012

Tackling Autoimmunity

JAMA. 2012;308(24):2557. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.156146

Scientists studying mice with a multiple sclerosis–like autoimmune disorder have found a way to selectively decrease the pathogenic immune response in these animals, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

In patients with multiple sclerosis, T cells inappropriately attack the myelin that protects neurons and may result in progressive neurologic symptoms. Currently, many treatments for such disorders work by nonselectively down-regulating immune function. But this can leave patients vulnerable to complications, such as infection, so scientists have been seeking ways to selectively turn down aberrant immune activity.

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