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Plant extract may treat lupus disease

New York: A plant-derived chemical may help treat the deadly lupus disease - a progressive, degenerative disease in which a person's immune system attacks healthy tissue, cells and organs.

The latest work by biomedical engineers including an Indian-origin scientist Chandra Mohan from University of Houston (UH) could lead to new, more natural therapeutics for lupus.

In latest research, Mohan and his colleagues found a synthetic, plant-derived compound - CDDO - that was shown to effectively suppress lupus development during animal testing - including the onset of kidney disease.

"The development of lupus is a two-step reaction. First, the immune system develops antibodies that attack the body's DNA, then that activated immune system attacks the kidneys," Mohan said.

"We found that CDDO may block both of these steps," he added.

Researchers also found that the CDDO compound had no known side effects

The next step is to confirm whether the CDDO compound suppresses the immune system across the board or whether it simply suppresses the activation of the specific signalling pathways that lead to the development of lupus.

With only one drug specifically approved for the treatment of lupus in the past 50 years, lupus patients are commonly treated with steroids, a class of immunosuppressive drugs.

At least five million people worldwide are suffering from lupus.

The findings were published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

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