Researchers discovered that two proteins that work together to kill self-reactive immune cells can protect against diseases such as type1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Australia discovered that absence of proteins called Puma and Bim can result in to self-reactive immune cells accumulating and attacking many different body organs, causing illness. The proteins are called BH3-only. They make the self-reactive cells die by a process called apoptosis. Defects in apoptosis proteins were linked to many human diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders and autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis, develop when immune cells launch an attack on the body's own cells, destroying important body organs or structures.