The jury is out when it comes to autoimmune diseases being hereditary. I say that because one study will show it can be inherited, while another will show the opposite. In the interest of being informative, I will state that in my family, we have the following autoimmune diseases:

Systemic Lupus erythrematosis

Celiac disease

Hashimotos Thyroiditis

Antiphospholipid Syndrome


Of these diseases, only one is not a directly linked disease. I have a paternal aunt who has lupus. The rest of these diseases are shown in my sister, my daughter, and my sons. I would say our family makes a good case for the inherited disease. I wonder how many others out there can show the same thing?

I am hoping to enroll in yet another study (I am in one right now for benlysta) in which my sister and I are checked and followed to study the dynamics of possible inherited diseases. My sister has agreed to participate so we may get chosen to do this one.

In the meantime, I will continue to try to educate others about autoimmune diseases in an effort to bring about awareness of these diseases. Many people have heard of them, but really know nothing about them. I will try to do what I can to change that.

Recent Lupus News 10.06.2010


Hey everyone! I am taking the easy way out tonight and posting an article I found on Hope you enjoy the article and tomorrow I hope to post a new post. Thanks and enjoy!

Lupus Research Investigator Says Breakthrough Holds Potential For New Treatment To Quiet Lupus






Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have identified a new type of cell in mice that dampens the immune system and protects the animal’s own cells from immune system attack.

This “suppressor” cell reduces the production of harmful antibodies that can drive lupus and other autoimmune diseases in which the immune system mistakenly turns on otherwise healthy organs and tissues.

The discovery, published in a recent issue of Nature (H Kim, et al.; Vol 467 in Letters), resulted from Lupus Research Institute funding to Harvey Cantor, MD, and colleagues on a separate immune system topic.

Now the discovery will be used to explore therapies that might control the hyperactive immune system in lupus. “These CD8+ T suppressor cells represent a potential new lever for lowering the strength of the immune response in autoimmune diseases such as lupus,” Dr. Cantor said.

Staying Open to Discovery

Until now, scientists searching for cells involved in quieting the immune system response had focused their hunt on “regulatory CD4+ T cells” – also known as CD4+ Treg. Some of these cells have been shown to prevent harmful inflammatory diseases and infections.

In the Nature study, Harvey Cantor, MD, and his team reported that not just CD4+T cells but CD8+ T cells as well include a subset that helps dampen the immune response. Instead of reducing inflammation like their CD4 cousins, the CD8+ T regulatory cells ensure that the immune system doesn’t produce antibodies that attack normal cells.

Lead author Hye-Jung Kim and colleagues made the discovery as they were winding up unrelated LRI-funded work into the role in autoimmunity of a protein found inside immune cells called osteopontin.

“Our LRI funds allowed us to carry out the early experiments that led to the definition of the CD8 suppressor cells.” – Dr. Cantor.

“We were testing osteopontin’s activity against a population of cells known as follicular T helper cells,” explained Dr. Cantor. “We noted that the cells were responsive to osteopontin but also that they expressed what we knew to be the target of suppressor CD8+ T cells.”

As next steps, Dr. Cantor and his team will investigate whether defective CD8+ T suppressor cells actually could be a cause of lupus and might serve as a powerful drug target for quieting the immune system response in autoimmunity.

About Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosis is a chronic complex and potentially fatal autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.5-million Americans, mostly young women in their child-bearing years. Lupus causes the immune system to become hyperactive, forming antibodies that attack and damage the body’s own tissues and vital organs including the heart, brain, kidneys and lungs. Lupus is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and stroke among young women. As yet, there is no known cause or cure but the progress of recent discoveries is highly promising.

Liane Stegmaier
Lupus Research Institute