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One drug – multiple targets? News on the therapy of SLE

Last year, the DRFZ and Charité have successfully investigated a new approach to treat the life-threatening autoimmune disease Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) with the therapeutic antibody daratumumab (link to news). This drug was developed to target a specific molecule (CD38) on the surface of plasma cells and thereby destroying these cells. Plasma cells play an important role in various autoimmune diseases. A new study (LINK) employing the mass cytometry technology established at the DRFZ has now shown that the surface molecule CD38 is not only expressed by the plasma cells, but also by a plethora of other immune cell types. Therefore, the CD38-directed therapy might have a much more profound and diverse molecular impact than previously assumed. Patients with active SLE often showed an increased expression of CD38 on their immune cells. Even though there was no clear association with disease severity, a subgroup of SLE patients showed distinctly increased levels of CD38 on their immune cells. These findings are opening up new perspectives for personalized medicine in the treatment of SLE.

Link to publication
Burns M, Ostendorf L, Biesen R, Grützkau A, Hiepe F, Mei HE, Alexander T. Dysregulated CD38 Expression on Peripheral Blood Immune Cell Subsets in SLE. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(5):2424.
Autoimmunologie Dr. med. Tobias Alexander Phone +49 30 450 613137 tobias.alexander@charite.de more
Mass cytometry Dr.rer. nat. Henrik Mei Phone +49 (0)30 28460 -774/714 mei@drfz.de more
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