New drug target for asthma, autoimmune disorders identified
Using a new tool for probing the molecular makeup of cells, researchers have discovered that PD-1 – a marker that already serves as a drug target for some cancers – may also serve as a drug target for asthma and other autoimmune disorders.
The researchers, led by a group from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom, report their work in the journal Nature.
Immune disorders arise because the immune system either fails – such as by not removing unwanted cells during infection or cancer – or becomes too active.
When it is too active, the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue, giving rise to autoimmune diseases or allergies such asasthma, where the airways become swollen or inflamed.
In the new study, the researchers examine a recently discovered group of cells in the immune system called innate lymphoid cells (ILC cells). Within this group, there is a subgroup called ILC2 cells that influences immune responses during infections and asthma.
Scientists have observed that levels of ILC2 cells shoot up when triggered by pollen or toxins, causing lung inflammation.
Source: Medical News Today