New Research with Plasma Cells May Lead to New Treatment for Lupus and a Blood Cancer

Australian scientists have discovered a gene that is essential for the survival of antibody-producing immune cells known as plasma cells. In lupus, these cells are the source of harmful self-directed antibodies (autoantibodies)  that damage vital organs. The discovery could lead to the development of new drugs that kill plasma cells. Such drugs would have potential, not only for lupus, but also for treatment of the blood cancer multiple myeloma that is caused by uncontrolled growth of plasma cells.