Hui-Chen Hsu, PhD

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

2009 General Immune System Function, New Treatments

Deletion of lupus autoreactive cells using an anti-hDR5 antibody

Hui-Chen Hsu, PhDIn lupus, immune system cells are mistakenly activated, causing attack against otherwise healthy organs and tissues. Would selectively eliminating these activated cells help stop or slow the disease—without causing toxic effects and reducing overall immune system strength?

Dr. Hsu, an expert in using animal models of lupus, reports that activated cells commit suicide when the “TRA-8” antibody binds to “anti-human death receptor 5” (DR5). Few if any scientists have ever studied DR5 as a therapeutic target for accomplishing this—eliminating the specialized cells of the immune system (CD4 and B cells) that lead the charge against foreign pathogens and other invading micro-organisms.

Working with a specialized mouse model, Dr. Hsu and colleagues will test the effectiveness and safety of administering TRA-8 to reduce lupus-causing cells. If successful, she will launch her strategy for rapidly evaluating the approach in humans, through clinical trials.