A team from Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, PUMCH, led by Professors Zhang Xuan, Zhang Fengchun and Tang Fulin and working together with other teams, carried out 16-year systematic research into the pathology and key treatment technologies of autoimmune disease (AID). It revealed the key links and molecules in its cause, created high sensitive differential diagnosis, probed into targeted immunity and Chinese medicine. It established and promoted China's plan for AID and brought its treatment to world advanced level. The project won first prize of 2018 China Medical Sci-tech Award and first prize of Beijing Sci-tech Award.
AID is a condition in which one's antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes attack and destroy one's own tissues and organs, thus causing dysfunctions, represented by SLE, RA and so on. AID is of high occurrence and morbidity and mortality rates. It has complicated symptoms that easily lead to missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. A large proportion of patients responds badly to glucocorticoid and conventional immunosuppressive drugs, and often suffers from side effects. Therefore it is important to find out the cause and improve therapies.
Under years of support by dozens of state natural science funds, the team, while dealing with a large number of clinical cases each year, carried out a series of internationally advanced studies. On RA, for example, the team, through a strict clinical prospective study, proved that Chinese medicine tripterygium glycosides, in combination with methotrexate, have a success rate of 76.8%, higher than the international methotrexate therapy. Through strict clinical study methods, rigid international experiment standards and professional third-party statistics, the team was the first to prove the efficacy and safety of tripterygium glycosides, brought this inexpensive and effective Chinese medicine into international vision and might change fundamentally the therapy strategy for tens of millions of patients worldwide. The research proved the certainty of tripterygium glycosides' efficacy, and therefore is of potential and worth further study, according to Eric L. Matteson, top rheumatologists at Mayo Clinic.
The team also carried out thorough study from the pathology and treatment of AID, and was the world' s first to make clear the regulating and intervening significance of oral and intestinal flora on AID; from genome-wide association study, it was the first to reveal the importance of a series of key target molecular as PTEN/miR7/CD200 and specially regulating T and Vδ2 cells in the cause, organ affecting, efficacy and prognosis warning, thus providing valuable diagnostic marker therapeutic targets; it set up AID diagnostic models from aspects as metagenomics, molecular, cell and immune image, and broke the bottleneck of missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis due to the lack of effective markers; the team also carried out BAFF targeted therapy, thus providing new solutions for AID.
So far the team has won 17 national invention patents and many achievements have been applied clinically and promoted nationwide. More than 300 SCI essays have been published, including on Nature Medicine, Nature Genetics, Science Translational Medicine, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, and have been quoted more than 10,000 times by international journals.