Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Vaccine for auto-immune diseases developed

By Aussiegirl

If this research holds up, this poses the possibilities of cures for a wide range of debilitating and even fatal autoimmune diseases. Let's hope that the trials are successful and that treatment can begin without too much delay for the millions of sufferers from these conditions. Hopeful news, indeed.

Israel21c: "A revolutionary approach developed in Israel which uses the body's own cells as a vaccine for treating autoimmune diseases is showing tremendous potential in human trials.

The most recent trials are taking place at Sheba Hospital and Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, where multiple sclerosis patients are being vaccinated in hope that it will slow down the deteriorative effects of their disease. The results of the double-blind studies are expected to be released in coming months.

The trials are based on scientific research dating back 25 years to the laboratory of Prof. Irun Cohen of the Weizmann Institute. In 1981, Cohen and one of his students, Avraham Bin-Nun, first published their observation that the cells that trigger autoimmune diseases - called T-cells - can be adapted to vaccinate the body against their destructive action. T-cells are a subset of lymphocytes that play a large role in the immune response. The abbreviation 'T' stands for thymus, the organ in which their final stage of development occurs.

'From my background in infectious disease and work with the measles virus, I became certain that you can teach the immune system to resist the agent that causes the disease,' Cohen told ISRAEL21c. 'In the case of these conditions, that destructive agent is a member of the body's own immune system. By singling out the renegade element for immune regulation, you can turn a part of the immune system into an impediment to the disease. The concept was, in a way, a seminal concept because it said that the system can repair itself.'

The initial findings, and subsequent successful trials using animal models, hold out hope for the entire range of autoimmune diseases from MS to arthritis, thyroid disease."


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