Editors' ChoiceAutoimmune Disease

Lupus: subdivide in order to conquer?

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Science  27 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6289, pp. 1072-1073
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6289.1072-c

For some diseases such as cancer, doctors routinely use molecular profiling to match patients to the most effective drugs, leading to improved patient care. With this goal in mind, Banchereau et al. explore the molecular heterogeneity of systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease in which patients produce autoantibodies to nucleic acids. Through longitudinal profiling of blood samples from 158 children with lupus, they found a transcriptional signature in plasmablasts (a type of antibody-secreting cell) that strongly correlates with disease activity. Notably, a rise in neutrophil transcripts marked the onset of kidney inflammation. Overall, this approach revealed that lupus patients fall into seven subgroups, who conceivably would show different responses to treatment.

Cell 165, 551 (2016).

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