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New Approaches to Treating Autoimmune Diseases

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

In the past few years, new classes of biologics have revolutionized treatment of autoimmune diseases, especially multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and asthma. Biologics tend to be most effective because they work on specific targets and impact the underlying causes of disease. In addition to new biologics, a number of companies and academic researchers are looking at expanding applications for certain cancer drugs to autoimmune diseases. The rationale behind this is straightforward: both diseases have inflammatory effects and require cytotoxic approaches. However, for all the difficulties scientists have had in understanding cancer, they've had even more in trying to figure out autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases tend to have systemic effects and thus it's hard to pinpoint a single site of disease.
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