Kenneth Kalunian, MD, University of California at San Diego

"Mechanistic Studies of Type I IFN Gene Expression in SLE and the Role of IKK-related Kinases and Interferon Regulator Factor 3 During and After Reconstitution of the Immune Response Following Non-ablative Therapy and Autologous Hematopoietic Precursor Stem Cell Replacement in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus"

2007 Adult Stem Cell Grant Award

Lupus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes significant disability and organ damage and, in some cases, fails to respond to available treatments. Targeted therapeutics with increased efficacy and fewer side effects are needed to improve patient care. Studies suggest a role for the cytokine interferon a (IFNa) in the pathogenesis of SLE. We hypothesize that the IKK-related kinases and interferon regulatory factor activate the signaling pathway that leads to increase IFN gene expression in patients with SLE and we plan to study of role of this pathway in SLE in patients who undergo therapy that severe suppresses the immune system with stem cell transplantation in order to understand the effects of this therapy on the signaling pathway and how the pathway may become active again as the immune system returns after stem cell transplantation.