More Than 23.5 Million Americans Are Affected by an Autoimmune Disease. Biopharmaceutical Researchers Are Using New Approaches and Teaming Up with the NIH and Non-profits to Combat Diseases Like Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Our immune system needs to tell the difference between normal and healthy cells in order to defend against infections and diseases. In patients with autoimmune disorders, this process doesn’t occur. Instead, the immune system goes into overdrive and begins to attack the body’s normal, healthy organs and tissues, causing deterioration and destruction.
More than 23.5 million Americans are affected by an autoimmune disease. To date, there are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases that range in the severity of symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus and multiple sclerosis.
Autoimmune disorders are some of the most complex diseases that biopharmaceutical researchers face. While the exact causes of these disorders are unknown, researchers are gaining a better understanding of potential factors that may be involved. Autoimmune diseases tend to run in families, are more common in women than in men and environmental factors, even physical trauma, can trigger the immune system to attack the body.
The complex biology of these diseases makes it difficult to identify treatments and design informative clinical trials.