Despite the fact that the etiopathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus is largely unknown, key steps in the pathophysiology of the disease have been recognized and targeted using gene therapy techniques. In animal models of lupus, gene transfer has been used to block the action of pro-inflammatory cytokines and co-stimulatory molecules leading to clinical improvement. In humans, ex vivo experiments have shown the feasibility of gene transfer in live T cells and its potential for restoring normal phenotype in T cells from patients with lupus. Still in experimental phase, gene therapy in lupus promises to correct the aberrant immunological response without the numerous side-effects of the currently used immunosuppressant medications.
Keywords: SLE, gene therapy, cytokines, cell therapy, genetics
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