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CIIID Investigators in the News: New Immune-based Therapeutics to Treat Lupus Autoimmune Disease

CIIID Investigators in the News: New Immune-based Therapeutics to Treat Lupus Autoimmune Disease

CIIID Investigator Dr. Keith Elkon is leading the way in developing new immune-based therapeutics to treat autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  A Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington, Dr. Elkon utilized findings in his laboratory that linked autoantibodies and immune complexes to inflammation that arises from innate immune cells.  Dr. Elkon and Dr. Jeff Ledbetter, a Professor in Rheumatology at the University of Washington, partnered with entrepreneur Dr. James Posada and the University of Washington CoMotion in forming Resolve Therapeutics in 2010 with the goal of pioneering new therapeutics to improve the lives of patients with lupus. 


Resolve Therapeutics has made rapid advances in progressing their lead compound RSLV-132 into clinical trials.  RSLV-132 functions by reducing the amount of the immune complexes that are thought to induce the inflammatory responses that are the hallmark of lupus symptoms.  The therapy is thought to prevent the chronic activation of the innate immune activating Toll-like receptors 7 and 8 to induce the interferon cascade that promotes inflammation.  “Keith’s pioneering research into the importance of RNA-containing immune complexes was the basis for RSLV-132, which we have been excited to move from a research concept into a potentially first-in-class lupus therapy” commented Dr. Posada, chief executive officer of Resolve Therapeutics. “We have enjoyed the scientific collaboration with Keith and the support of the UW in getting Resolve off the ground” added Posada.


Dr. Elkon continues to use new information from innate immune research, especially in the interferon pathway, to develop additional molecules to treat lupus.  As Core Leader for the Translational Core of the CIIID, Dr. Elkon will assist CIIID members translate new findings in innate immunity into treatment applications that can be used in the clinic for patients with immune disease. “Having a Research Center at the University of Washington that is focused specifically on innate immunity will help advance new findings in innate immune research into clinical treatments more quickly as basic researchers and clinicians will have better access to the tools and resources they need to develop transform their discoveries into therapeutics, ” said Dr. Elkon.  “I expect some exciting new discoveries to blossom from the partnerships developed within the CIIID.” 

Recent News

On February 8th, the CIIID Education Core participated in Enumclaw’s 6th Annual STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) Expo. This event draws approximately 2,000 students and their families from all over the area to explore STEM concepts and careers.
The CIIID recently established a formal scientific partnership with Renji Hospital and Jiao Tong University Medical School in Shanghai, China.  CIIID Director, Dr. Michael Gale, Jr., and CIIID Associate Directors, Dr. Keith Elkon and Dr.