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【SHINE】Renji Hospital team makes lupus research advance

January 09, 2021      Author: Cai Wenjun

Through genome-editing and other genetic technologies, local medical experts have successfully defined non-coding RNA functional regulatory elements on lupus, Shanghai’s Renji Hospital has announced.

This provides mechanistic links between the autoimmune disease risk genetic variation and disease etiology.

The breakthrough was published by world-leading journal Nature Communications on Saturday.

Dr Shen Nan from Renji has been leading his team on the genetic research of systemic lupus erythematosus, a chronic disease usually attacking women and causing multi-organ damage and even death.

The cause of the disease still remains unknown, and there is no effective cure. Researchers have found the disease has a close relationship with genetics and the environment. For instance, the incidence among patients who are identical twins is much higher than fraternal twins.

“Studying the genomic function of heredity can help explore the cause of SLE, providing new measures for prevention and treatment,” Shen said.

Shen’s team found that increasing miR-146a, a kind of immunoregulatory microRNA expression, can influence interferon pathway for SLP patients. The discovery offers a new target for treatment.