New treatment method opens door to hope for a cure for autoimmune diseases

Doctors at the University Hospital in Erlangen, eastern Germany, have announced that they have largely eliminated the symptoms of a serious and incurable autoimmune disease, using a treatment method that was originally developed for the treatment of cancer.

Doctors at the University Hospital in Erlangen, eastern Germany, have announced that they have largely eliminated the symptoms of a serious and incurable autoimmune disease, using a treatment method that was originally developed for the treatment of cancer.

Although this method has so far only been tested on five people, independent experts liked it. “The data is so conclusive that I expect this method will be replicated in larger studies,” said Falk Hebeh, an immunologist at the Charité Hospital Berlin.


In an article published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine, the team of doctors headed by immunologist Georg Schitt talked about treatment using what is known as chimeric receptors for T cells with people with severe symptoms of lupus erythematosus.

In these people, Chit said, symptoms of the disease have largely disappeared. The group did not monitor the emergence of serious side effects that certainly occur when using this method in the treatment of cancer.

It is still not known whether the success that occurred with the five people can be sustained and whether it can be transferred to other patients, but an independent expert described what happened as a great success, as rheumatologist Martin Aringer of the University Hospital in Dresden, Germany: “It is surprising to see such overwhelming success, and this will develop the field of research, and he believed that this method could help in the fight against some other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.”

It is noteworthy that chimeric receptor T-cell therapy has been used for a few years in cancer medicine, but it has proven itself in the treatment of certain types of leukaemia and lymphomas. These cells carry a specific receptor on their surface, which is called the chimeric antigen receptor; then patients recover the chimeric receptors for T cells through blood transfusion, where these cells explore inside the body with the help of the receptor and eliminate cancerous cells.

However, there is a serious drawback in this method, as it is possible that neurological complications may occur during treatment, which may amount to very violent inflammatory reactions called cytokine storms due to the excessive reaction of the immune system.

And here is Chet’s team now announcing the first use of this method in treating people outside the field of cancer medicine. A disease that is not yet curable.


The severity of the chronic inflammatory disease can vary greatly and range from mild to life-threatening forms, and antibodies made by B cells of the immune system can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as the characteristic redness on the cheeks known as the butterfly rash. Severe fatigue, joint problems, and damage to the nervous system and internal organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys.

Treatment methods depend on individual pathways and include a variety of drugs according to the severity of the disease, including antimalarials, anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants or various antibodies.

It is reported that the five people treated by Chet’s team with the new treatment method are four women and a man, aged between 18 and 24 years, who were suffering from severe forms of the disease that affected the kidneys, heart and joints. The five people submitted to this immunotherapy after no other treatment worked for them.

The T cells of these patients were changed in the laboratory so that these cells became aware of the CD19 receptor specifically carried by B cells on their surface, and then eliminate these B cells because they are the main responsible in lupus erythematosus for the formation of those antibodies that cause problems.

These subjects were then given chimeric T cells at a rate of one million cells per kilogram of body weight. These cells have spread in the body by the ninth day after transfusion to the extent that they constitute between 11 and 59% of the T cells in the body, although this percentage decreases after So the improvement of the patient’s condition continued.

And starting from the third month, patients showed a noticeable improvement, and Sheet said that this recovery continues until today for a period ranging between 5 and 20 months, adding that the especially important thing is the continued disappearance of symptoms in these people even after about 100 days have passed since the re-emergence of B cells, pointing to This suggests that the reconstituted B cells are “harmless” and do not cause immune reactions, and his team is very optimistic that this method can work in practice.

The team said that the five patients tolerated the treatment well, pointing out that three of them had a fever for a period ranging between two and three days, and the team saw that the tolerance of this method in the treatment of lupus erythematosus appears better than it in the treatment of cancer diseases. “These data indicate that CD19-equipped chimeric T-cell transfer is viable, tolerable and highly effective,” the doctors said. Who have undergone the experiment?

The medical team headed by Schmidt plans to test this treatment method in a larger study starting from the beginning of next year, where Schett said that it is possible not to limit participation in it to people who suffer from lupus erythematosus but also people who suffer from two other serious autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory disease. Muscle and systemic scleroderma.

Aringer, who is also a member of the board of directors of the Lupus Erythematosus Self-Help Society, expected the continued success of this method, saying that “20 months is a very long time in this disease, and the data are impressive, and patients have undoubtedly benefited from it.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here