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Hope for an auto-immune vaccine. #Fibromyalgia #MultipleSclerosis #ChronicFatigueSyndrome

Scientists have developed technology to teach our bodies to stop fighting itself and recognize its own tissues again.

“Inverse vaccine” shows promise to reverse autoimmune diseases without shutting down rest of the immune system

Reviewed by Megan Craig, M.Sc.
Sep 12 2023
A new type of vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) has shown in the lab setting that it can completely reverse autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and Crohn's disease -; all without shutting down the rest of the immune system.
A typical vaccine teaches the human immune system to recognize a virus or bacteria as an enemy that should be attacked. The new "inverse vaccine" does just the opposite: it removes the immune system's memory of one molecule. While such immune memory erasure would be unwanted for infectious diseases, it can stop autoimmune reactions like those seen in multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease, in which the immune system attacks a person's healthy tissues.
The inverse vaccine, described this week in Nature Biomedical Engineering, takes advantage of how the liver naturally marks molecules from broken-down cells with "do not attack" flags to prevent autoimmune reactions to cells that die by natural processes. PME researchers coupled an antigen -; a molecule being attacked by the immune system-; with a molecule resembling a fragment of an aged cell that the liver would recognize as friend, rather than foe. The team showed how the vaccine could successfully stop the autoimmune reaction associated with a multiple-sclerosis-like disease.
In the past, we showed that we could use this approach to prevent autoimmunity. But what is so exciting about this work is that we have shown that we can treat diseases like multiple sclerosis after there is already ongoing inflammation, which is more useful in a real-world context."
Jeffrey Hubbell, the Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering and lead author of the new paper
Unwinding an immune response
The job of the immune system's T cells is to recognize unwanted cells and molecules -; from viruses and bacteria to cancers -; as foreign to the body and get rid of them. Once T cells launch an initial attack against an antigen, they retain a memory of the invader to eliminate it more quickly in the future.
T cells can make mistakes, however, and recognize healthy cells as foreign. In people with Crohn's disease, for instance, the immune system attacks cells of the small intestine; in those with multiple sclerosis, T cells mount an attack against myelin, the protective coating around nerves.
Hubbell and his colleagues knew that the body has a mechanism for ensuring that immune reactions don't occur in response to every damaged cell in the body-; a phenomenon known as peripheral immune tolerance and carried out in the liver. They discovered in recent years that tagging molecules with a sugar known as N-acetylgalactosamine (pGal) could mimic this process, sending the molecules to the liver where tolerance to them develops.
"The idea is that we can attach any molecule we want to pGal and it will teach the immune system to tolerate it," explained Hubbell. "Rather than rev up immunity as with a vaccine, we can tamp it down in a very specific way with an inverse vaccine."
In the new study, the researchers focused on a multiple-sclerosis-like disease in which the immune system attacks myelin, leading to weakness and numbness, loss of vision and, eventually mobility problems and paralysis. The team linked myelin proteins to pGal and tested the effect of the new inverse vaccine. The immune system, they found, stopped attacking myelin, allowing nerves to function correctly again and reversing symptoms of disease in animals.
In a series of other experiments, the scientists showed that the same approach worked to minimize other ongoing immune reactions.
Toward clinical trials
Today, autoimmune diseases are generally treated with drugs that broadly shut down the immune system.
"These treatments can be very effective, but you're also blocking the immune responses necessary to fight off infections and so there are a lot of side effects," said Hubbell. "If we could treat patients with an inverse vaccine instead, it could be much more specific and lead to fewer side effects."
More work is needed to study Hubbell's pGal compounds in humans, but initial phase I safety trials have already been carried out in people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that is associated with eating wheat, barley and rye, and phase I safety trials are under way in multiple sclerosis. Those trials are conducted by the pharmaceutical company Anokion SA, which helped fund the new work and which Hubbell cofounded and is a consultant, board member and equity holder. The Alper Family Foundation also helped fund the research.
"There are no clinically approved inverse vaccines yet, but we're incredibly excited about moving this technology forward," says Hubble.

University of Chicago
Journal reference:
Tremain, A. C., et al. (2023). Synthetically glycosylated antigens for the antigen-specific suppression of established immune responses. Nature Biomedical Engineering.
#autoimmune #Vaccine

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I'm new here!

Hi, my name is WonderWoman_1973. I'm here because I want to be able to not only share my own experiences with others, but also learn about others' experiences by asking lots of questions and comparing experiences to learn more! Support from a community of people who have things in common with one's self can be one of the greatest "physicians."

#multi-organ transplant (5)
#pulmonary Embolism
#Hypothyroidism (under active Thyroid)
#Antiphospholipid Syndrome
#autoimmune thrombosis
#breast cancer survivor
#lymphoma survivor#multi


Anyone with CRPS and Celiac? I’ve had CRPS for about 4 yrs and Celiac for 4 months. #CRPS #Celiac #Asthma #autoimmune -tradingcard collector

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Do you use humor as a coping mechanism?

Managing a chronic illness like POTS can be challenging, and the use of helpful coping strategies can go a long way. Humor is one of them.

Sometimes a good laugh is just what we need to get through those tough days!

Do you find humor to be an effective coping mechanism for you?

❤️ P.S. If you like memes, you’ll love these funny relatable POTS memes Kaley Faith shared in recent Mighty story here:

#PosturalOrthostaticTachycardiaSyndrome #ChronicIllness #Spoonie #COVID19 #autoimmune #ChronicPain #ChronicFatigueSyndrome #Migraine #Fibromyalgia

17 POTS Memes That Make Me Smile

Which is your favorite?
31 reactions 9 comments
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Chronic illness plus a cold or flu? Insult to injury

Am I just a cry baby or does anyone else go a little crazy when dealing with a bad cold or the flu on top of the normal symptoms of your chronic illness or condition?

Part of the problem is that for, me and I’m guessing many, many others who find themselves here, my immune system is compromised, so what would normally be a ten day virus turns into months of suffering.

It just breaks me every time. It’s a cold! Yes it’s a cold, but usually it’s a cold that turns into bronchitis or a sinus infection or god forbid pneumonia. And it feels like it lasts FOREVER!

That inner store of strength that you rely on to get through hard days is depleted and for me that leads to a spike in depression, emotional upset, and frankly anger. I can only binge watch “Outlander” so many times as a form of distraction! My relationship with our living room sofa is already borderline inappropriate. During a siege of “normal person” illness the love/hate bond between myself, my blanket, and my favorite pillow is unbreakable.

Like so many of you, I’ve been struggling with my health demons for quite a while. Adding a common cold should be an easy assignment, but it always proves to be the straw that broke the camels back for me. Insult to injury. Salt in the wound or any other platitude you can muster. I wish you all luck during cold and flu season and I truly hope you come through it all safely. #Cancer #autoimmune #cold #Flu #Depression

10 reactions 6 comments

Illness and Acceptance

I recently had an important revelation.

In the five years since first experiencing chronic illness, I have never actually accepted its presence in my life.

You see, as somewhat of a "spiritual" (though I hesitate to use that overused term) person I have grown to view the world in a very fate-based way. I believe that the unfolding events of our life are all deeply meaningful and I appreciate that our hardships in life all happen for a reason.

However, I have never been able to extend this line of thinking to my health. In my mind, my illness was the golden exception to this worldview- God's terrible mistake.

Whenever I have been in the middle of a particularly bad flare-up, I find myself fixated on one stressful line of thought. This should NOT be happening.

When I reflect back on periods when illness brought my life to a halt, I would feel tension and stress. I would think of all the wasted time, the days spent in bed, and the unmet goals and would despair. The existence of these periods felt wrong, painfully wrong.

Why then, has it been such a challenge to accept my path through life, warts and bumps and all?

Why has it felt so impossible to accept this part of myself? To come to peace with the fact that I have lived an atypical path of alternating illness and wellness?

I can think of two main reasons.

The first has to do with identity. As someone who has always identified as a motivated high achiever, chronic illness has come into direct conflict with my self-perception.

Stripping away my ability to meet my goals at times, (financial, career, etc) has felt like a direct challenge to my true self, my achieving self. I have perceived it as an obstacle whose purpose is sole to knock me off my correct path in life.

But of course, whether I like it or not, my illness has been a part of my true journey on this earth. Outside of my judgments of it, it simply is part of my life, whether I like it or not. Therefore It is inherently part of my true path in life, simply because it ion my path.

The second reason it has been so hard to accept my illness is that I have often perceived myself through the eyes of those around me.

Very rarely in my life have people been able to validate this path for me- and who could blame them, for how could you understand such a foreign experience as chronic fatigue without firsthand experience of it?

For a long time, have been unable to validate myself in the face of being unacknowledged or dismissed by others. This has led to a bizarre state of mind whereby others' denial of my reality has ultimately caused me to doubt and deny my reality myself.

Due to the pain of being misunderstood or labeled a hypochondriac, my illness has become something of a hushed secret. I have avoided talking about it with those around me, I have hidden my symptoms and gone absent from my relationships during my flare-ups. In this way, by hiding and minimizing it from others, I have hidden and denied my reality to myself.

Regardless of the reasons for resisting my illness, I finally felt a sense of peace when I actually decided to accept it as a part of my journey.

No longer does my health history need to be a shameful secret, something I avoid speaking about for fear of making others uncomfortable.

It is a part of my life path, and therefore a part of my purpose. And I can incorporate this purpose in all kinds of small ways, like bringing more compassion to others with health issues. Or choosing to write about my experiences openly and honestly. I could even see myself moving into a role within the health field one day, with the expertise of someone who has walked this path for many years.

My illness does not have to be a destroyer of opportunities. It can also be the bringer of them.

#CFS #Fatigue #CIRS #autoimmune

11 reactions 4 comments
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The Comparison Trap

It sometimes seems that God was in a macabre mood when he shuffled the card deck of our lives.

Being both an ambitious person and a chronically ill person can be a torturous combination. When we are well, or less ill, we are freed from our physical confines. Our minds race to all of the goals and dreams that we long to finally accomplish - the life we have always wanted comes within reach as we feel called to take action toward our goals.

When our illness returns we crash back down to reality. What seemed so possible and so real, has now disappeared far off into the distance, barely visible. We exist in a lurch between hope and despair, not quite able to trust the trajectory of our own lives.

Worst of all, it is perhaps the comparisons with well people that make us feel our worst. We Humans are experts in comparing ourselves, and the rise of social media serves only to exacerbate this problem. We cruelly cross-analyze every aspect of our lives with those around us- compare our financial situations, our outward appearances, and our major life milestones.

For the healthiest of people, this kind of behavior is already unhelpful; however when someone with a chronic illness falls into this trap it is especially problematic.

In comparing ourselves to healthy people, we end up creating an entirely unjust contest in our minds; discounting the time and energy that we have lost to our ill health. We ignore the cumulative effect of periods of severe unwellness that may have disrupted our routines for weeks or months.

We ignore the immense advantage gifted to someone able to focus on their goals without ever having to worry whether or not their body would be up to the task.

We ignore the financial effects of expensive treatments or long periods of non-work.

Quite simply, the healthy person and the chronically ill one are both human, and yet they inhabit vastly different worlds. Dealing with the burdens that our illnesses give us already presents us with enough challenges without the added torment of coming up inferior to someone who has had a completely different set of life experiences.

It is the least we can do to make a point not to compare our life trajectories with those people who have not experienced chronic illness. We have suffered enough.

#CFS #ChronicFatigue #CIRS #autoimmune #Mold toxicity

8 reactions

Anyone else experience this?

I was wondering if anyone else has flare-up…cycles? If so, do you know why?
For me, I have GI symptoms, muscle and joint symptoms, and neurological symptoms associated with my condition. When I begin a flare up, the GI symptoms flare at once, then once that flare ends, it triggers a joint flare, then when that one ends, it triggers the neuro flare up. Like, each category has to flare before the whole thing is over. Is there a reason? #autoimmune #chronic #Seizure #GastrointestinalDiscomfort #Jointpain #Inflammation


Stapes surgery: your thoughts/experience #Deafness #autoimmune #MyastheniaGravis #Surgery #ChronicIllness #sjogren ’ssyndrome #POTS

I have very severe cochlear otosclerosis with severe to profound hearing loss in both ears and multiple autoimmune and chronic conditions. Since I am using hearing aids on both sides but getting little benefit from one of them due to the severity of the loss and difficulty with speech discrimination too, my doctor wants me to undergo a stapedectomy. I’m pretty nervous to undergo this surgery and would love some feedback about pros and cons and any alternatives I may be missing. Thanks!
#Deafness #autoimmune #MyastheniaGravis #Surgery # chronic illness# sjogren’ssyndrome #POTS #Hearing loss