Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease with diverse clinical and serological phenomena. A specific cause for SLE is unknown but it evidently involves genetics and epigenetics factors that unbalance the normal function of the innate and adaptive immune systems and alter their function such that the immune system attacks the body´s own tissues and organs. The signs and symptoms of SLE vary among affected individuals, and can involve many organs and systems, including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, central nervous system, and blood-forming (hematopoietic) system.
SLE affects mainly young females (15-45 years old) with more than 5 million patients worldwide and estimated 16,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is involved in different aspects of SLE. It was shown that aberrations in the UPS led to the dysregulation of cellular homeostasis and the development of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as SLE. (Cellular & Molecular Immunology, 2006, 255-261). Several key proteins, enzymes and E3 ubiquitin ligases in these pathways are directly linked to SLE and other autoimmune diseases. (J Immunol May 1, 2014, 192 (1 Supplement) 184.10). In addition, there are strong evidence that regulatory T cells of SLE patients have several defects in their ubiquitination profile that contribute to resistance to suppression (Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 191: 42–49, 2017).
Monitoring of disease activity is an important aspect in the management of SLE patients, and therefore, patients are categorized into several groups based on serological and clinical manifestations: (A) Serology and clinically active, (B) Serology active but clinically quiescent disease and (C) Serology and clinically inactive (remission). Molecular biomarkers for detection, classification and monitoring disease activity remain a major need in SLE.
PTM Biosciences is applying its Post Translational Modifications (PTM) profiling platform by analyzing liquid biopsies of SLE patients and generating diagnostic biomarkers that can detect and monitor disease activity of SLE patients and serve as the basis for the development of novel treatments.