Autoimmune disease explained

Autoimmune disease explained

An autoimmune disease occurs when the body's immune system is chronically overactive and attacks healthy cells.

Normally, our immune system protects our body and works to keep us healthy: it helps resist infection. But viruses and bacteria can rapidly mutate to evade the immune system; and so our immune system must mutate just as rapidly to protect us.

‘Bad mutations’ are an inevitable by-product of these rapid mutations, and it is these cells that are likely to multiply and form a ‘rogue clone’ in response to the body’s own tissues.

Hope Research will identify bad mutations in these cells, and use sophisticated gene editing techniques to determine the cellular consequences of particular combinations of bad mutations for gene expression patterns in the rogue cells.


Autoimmune diseases studied by Hope

The Hope Research team will focus on 34 of the most common autoimmune diseases:


Ankylosing spondylitis
Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia
Autoimmune vitiligo
Bullous pemphigoid
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy
Coeliac disease
CREST syndrome (limited scleroderma)
Crohn’s disease
Essential mixed cryoglobulinemia
Evans syndrome
GBM disease (Goodpasture’s syndrome)
Giant cell arteritis
Graves’ disease
Guillain Barré syndrome
Infective endocarditis associated vasculitis
Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune hypothyroidism)
Henoch Schonlein purpura
IgA nephropathy
IgG4 related disease
Immune thrombocytopenia
Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)

Membranous nephropathy
Microscopic polyangiitis
Motor neurone disease
Multiple sclerosis
Myasthenia gravis
Neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s disease)
Pemphigus vulgaris
Pernicious anaemia
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Primary antiphospholipid syndrome
Psoriatic arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis
Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis)
Sjögren's syndrome
Susac’s syndrome
Sporadic Inclusion Body Myositis
Type 1 diabetes
Ulcerative colitis
Wegener’s granulomatosis

Autoimmune disease statistics