Researchers from Sweden and the United Kingdom have developed a new gene that could treat the rare form of lupus erythematosus.
The gene, called kawamas disease, is a condition where the immune system fails to fight infections caused by a virus, said researchers from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and the University College London.
The team, published online on September 3 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, showed that the gene, known as JVN-2, was able to activate and suppress the immune response to the virus.
It was tested on the K9-Molecular Drosophila model, a type of canine that has severe genetic defects.
The findings have been welcomed by the British Veterinary Association, which has long supported the development of gene therapies to treat genetic disorders such as lupos.
“This is a really exciting development and the research is a step forward,” said the association’s executive director, Simon Williams.
“It is also important that researchers know how to use these gene therapies in the future, so that people can benefit from them.”
Gene therapies have previously been developed in animals but have been limited to specific conditions such as cancers, where there are few treatments available.
The researchers hope to develop a gene therapy that can be used for other cancers, as well as some other conditions, such as asthma.
The study was funded by the Swedish Research Council and the British Medical Research Council.