Immune therapies of autoimmune diseases: are we approaching a real cure?

Current Opinion in Immunology
Lucienne Chatenoud

Abstract

In developed countries, autoimmune diseases represent the third major cause of morbidity and mortality after cancer and atherosclerosis and their incidence has steadily increased over the past three decades. Conventional therapeutic approaches are essentially palliative, anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive; in addition, they are non-specific, unrelated to the antigens involved in disease pathogenesis. This explains the growing attention to modern technologies that made new biological agents and methods available. A few of these are already approved for regular clinical practice; others are still in clinical development but hold great promise. The question is: will these new tools allow us to develop a real cure for autoimmunity, restoring self-tolerance to target autoantigens? This goal is ambitious, namely harnessing the pathogenic immune response while preserving the host response to exogenous or unrelated antigens.

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