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Doctor Takes Novel Approach to Fighting Lupus

By March 26, 2008

I found this recent news item of interest. University of Washington’s Dr. Keith B. Elkon, head of the Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine and a veteran lupus investigator, has received a $447,000 award from the Alliance for Lupus Research to develop a way of interrupting the progress of lupus without suppressing the body's natural defenses. It’s being called a novel approach to suppressing the disease – and the doctor isn’t stopping there. He wants to create an pool of experts who will discover other ways to fight the disease.

The good doctor has been battling lupus as a researcher for more than 20 years, and hopes his new project, "Lysis of Immunostimulatory Nucleoproteins in SLE," which the grant will support, will achieve its goal. That goal? To “degrade the nucleic acid component of the immune complexes, rendering them unable to deposit in tissue or activate inflammatory receptors.”

In other words, Dr. Elkon is trying to find a way to eliminate the inflammatory process without suppressing the body’s natural defenses. Many current treatments, Dr. Elkon says, can stop the inflammatory process, but also hindered the immune system. This is what makes his approach novel.


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