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Gable awarded grant to study origins, possible treatments for CIDP

Monday, July 1, 2019

Duke Neurologist, Karissa Gable, MD, is investigating the pathophysiologic mechanisms of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), advancing our understanding of this autoimmune disease and opening new potential roles for treatment. This research is made possible thanks to the GBS|CIDP Foundation International, which awarded Gable a one-year research grant.

CIDP is an autoimmune disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system. The prevalence of this disease is 8.9 per 100,000 people in the U.S. People with CIDP typically experience slow, progressive weakness of muscles around their shoulders, hips, hands and feet as well as loss of sensation. Current treatments involve immune suppression or immune modulation. While these treatments can be effective, they often require maintenance dosing in order to maintain control of the disease. It is difficult to know when to decrease treatment without causing a flare of symptoms and for those who have contraindications to the first line treatments it can be difficult to find a way to control the symptoms.

“Investigating more about the autoimmune mechanisms of this disease will help elucidate a better understanding of how to manage and treat this complicated illness,” said Gable. “There is still much to be gained from understanding the exact role of T cell and B cell function to hopefully identify disease activity status as well as potential targets for new treatments.”

Gable and colleagues, Jeffrey Guptill, MD, MHS (Department of Neurology), and John Yi, PhD (Department of Surgery) plan to evaluate the dysfunction in a group of cells that promote inflammation in patients with CIDP. Specifically, this research will focus on further defining the role of Th17 cells with respect to severity of disease activity and will also attempt to determine if this type of T-cell mediated inflammation in vitro can be inhibited with targeted therapeutics.

The GBS|CIDP Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for, and improving awareness about Guillain-Barre syndrome, CIDP, and related syndromes. Founded in 1980, the organization now has 35,000 members in 47 countries worldwide. Read more about the Foundation here.