Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Diseases
The immune system has a complex set of mechanisms to protect the body against foreign agents, such as viruses, bacteria and tumor cells, while safeguarding healthy tissues. However, in some circumstances, the immune system can cause harm instead of protection.
A number of well-known immune related diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are categorized along a line extending from autoimmune disease to autoinflammatory disease. While a disease such as psoriatic arthritis is more of an autoinflammatory disease, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis have a more distinct autoimmune component.
Many of these diseases are prescribed similar treatments, typically addressing the inflammation. Yet, more well defined autoimmune or autoinflammatory conditions respond to more selective therapies targeting autoantibody forming B cells or pro-inflammatory effector molecules such as interleukin-1, respectively.
In the more complex multifactorial diseases, such as RA where several different genetic mutations have been demonstrated to confer increased risk of developing the disease, a range of different treatment approaches are explored.