Research Progress Related to Pemphigus
The NIAMS Dermatology Branch conducts clinical and basic research of the skin and skin diseases, such as:
- The skin as an organ that has immunological properties.
- Inflammatory skin diseases.
- The human microbiome and its influence in healthy people and those with skin diseases.
- Skin stem cells.
In addition, the NIAMS conducts and funds research on pemphigus, including:
- Genetics: Evidence indicates that genetics partly account for the higher frequency of pemphigus in certain populations, but the role of genes remains unclear. It appears that multiple genes are involved in the disease, and research is underway to identify them.
- Environmental factors: Scientists believe that environmental factors may trigger pemphigus in people who are genetically at risk. They are working to assess the impact on the disease of various factors, such as exposure to dust, chemicals, or the bite of certain insects.
- Immune system targets: Pemphigus is caused by an aberrant immune attack on skin. A number of investigators are pursuing strategies to bring the disease under control by targeting immune cells.
- B cells: Several efforts are aimed at characterizing B cells, immune cells that play a key role in the autoimmune attack on skin in people with the disease. By providing information on how these cells turn on the body and attack healthy skin, this work may lead to new treatment strategies. In addition, clinical trials are underway to test the efficacy of certain B cell cancer medicines on pemphigus.
- T cells: When the body is infected with a pathogen, a population of immune cells called regulatory T cells helps to shut down the immune response once the threat is gone. Researchers are trying to find ways to engineer these cells to quell the autoimmune attack in pemphigus.
For more info
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics
Website: cdc.gov/nchs (en inglés)
International Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Foundation
Website: pemphigus.org (en inglés)
Website: autoimmune.org (en inglés)
National Organization for Rare Disorders
Website: rarediseases.org (en inglés)