Targeting directly molecules of the B7 family which are crucial for providing costim-ulatory signals required for T-cell activation may be another effective strategy for the treatment of autoimmune diseases (Diamond et al. 2001, Theofilopoulos et al. 2001).

Accordingly, studies in NZB/NZW mice have shown that the combined application of monoclonal antibodies directed against both B7-1 and B7-2 decreases anti-double-stranded (ds) DNA antibodies and prolongs survival. Treatment with either mAb alone did not have a similar strong efficacy. The results of first clinical trials using anti-B7 (IDEC-114) for the treatment of patients with psoriasis (Schopf 2001) and clinical studies based on these strategies in patients with lupus nephritis are forthcoming (Diamond et al. 2001).

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