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Blood-thinning drugs may offer new ways to treat patients with autoimmune disease lupus it has been claimed.
It comes following a study that found blood platelets are key in the development of the disease.
According to researchers, lupus patients have an excess of platelets, which is a type of blood cell that clumps together to form clots.
And the scientists recommended that blood-thinning drugs such as Plavix, developed by Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb, could be vital.
Current treatments for the disease, which affects around five million people in the world, include steroids and some chemotherapy-like medications, which have toxic side effects.
Writing in the Science Translational Medicine Journal, the scientists said: “These observations open a possible therapeutic avenue for human inflammatory autoimmune diseases – the long-term utilisation of antiplatelet therapy.”
Lupus is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue, particularly in the kidney.
It is not known how the disease originates, although researchers believe it is driven by environmental, hormonal or genetic factors.
Copyright Press Association 2010