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Cleveland Clinic Study Discovers New Targets For Treating Inflammatory, Autoimmune Diseases

October 10, 2011

Researchers find pathway to potentially block disease-inducing inflammation

Researchers have discovered a cellular pathway that promotes inflammation in diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis. Understanding the details of this pathway may provide opportunities for tailored treatments of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Discovery of this pathway was the work of an active collaboration between Xiaoxia Li, Ph.D., and Thomas Hamilton, Ph.D., Department Chair, both of the Department of Immunology at Lerner Research Institute of Cleveland Clinic.

Their publications in Nature Immunology, selected for a News and Views article in the same issue, portray how a protein molecule known as interleukin-17 (IL-17) spurs inflammation by recruiting specific white blood cells to sites of infection and injury, producing a strong, pathogenic response.

Being able to block this pathway may treat IL-17-induced inflammatory diseases. Molecular factors discovered by Li and Hamilton make this concept a potential strategy.

“We are excited by the possibilities that this new research opens up for developing improved therapeutics for these difficult diseases,” Hamilton said.

“Being able to collaborate like this really expedites the science,” Li added, “ultimately leading, we hope, to profound improvement for those suffering from these autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.”

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