Autoimmune Disease

It is estimated that more than 5% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of autoimmune disease. The interferons are at the center of the immune response and thus play a key role in nearly all autoimmune diseases.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), an often severe autoimmune disease, afflicts more than 350,000 people in the U.S. alone. An important role for both interferon-α 1 and interferon-γ 2 in SLE has been postulated based on the observation of high interferon activity in the SLE patient. A number of examples of SLE induced as a side effect of interferon therapy have been reported 3 and gene expression patterns have led investigators to conclude there is “a strong rationale for the development of new therapies to block interferon pathways in human SLE” 4 .