What triggers autoimmune disease isn’t clear, although it appears that both genetic predisposition and environmental factors are involved. However, it is increasingly evident that autoimmunity, observed in conditions such as Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, is the outcome of an imbalance between autoaggressive (too many) and regulatory paths (too few) of the immune system (Wing and Sakaguchi, Nature Immunology, January 2010). The ability to restore the autoaggressive/regulatory balance of the immune system would constitute an important therapeutic breakthrough for the treatment of autoimmune disease.
To date, most attempts to control autoimmune disease do not address the underlying cause of the disease and result in generalized immunosuppression and seriously increase the risk of infection and, over the long term, the risk of cancer.
Mercia’s MERIT technology specifically addresses the underlying cause of autoimmune disease by inducing autoantigen-specific regulatory T cells and regulatory cytokines in order to restore balance in the immune system while maintaining the ability of the patient’s immune system to fight off infection.