September 2014 Coffee and Chat – Talk by Dr Sacre

We had a great turnout for this month’s coffee and chat with fifteen of us coming along. We were delighted to welcome another new member to the group too.

This month we were also joined by Dr Sandra Sacre and her PhD student Ryan Thwaites from Brighton and Sussex Medical School. They explained to us the work that they’ve been doing on Lupus SLE and Rheumatoid Arthritis, using blood samples you may well have donated at one of your visits to the Royal Sussex Infirmary (you’ll know if you have because you will have signed consent forms with a nurse).

Sandra and Ryan explained to us some of the interesting findings they’ve already made in their study- The AIM (Auto Inflammatory Mechanisms) study.

We all found the talk very interesting and were all able to ask lots of questions at the end. We’d like to thank Sandra and Ryan for coming and look forward to hearing more about their research next year.

Scientists discover how to “switch off” auto-immune diseases

Scientists at Bristol University last week announced an important breakthrough in the fight against autoimmune diseases like lupus by revealing how to stop cells attacking healthy tissue in autoimmune diseases like lupus SLE.


Scientists were able to selectively target the cells that cause autoimmune disease by dampening down their aggression against the body’s own tissues while converting them into cells capable of protecting against disease.

This sort of therapy has already been used in treating people with severe allergies e.g. someone who is allergic to peanuts is gradually exposed to more and more of this specific allergen in a very controlled way over a long period of time. Gradually their own immune system’s response dampens. This means that over time their antibodies no longer react to peanuts as a threat, which means that the person no longer risks going into anaphylactic shock when they eat peanuts.

This same theory may now be applied to autoimmune diseases because scientists at Bristol University have studied how the immune cells are “turned off” by this kind of therapy.

By specifically targeting the cells at fault, this immunotherapeutic approach avoids the need for powerful immune suppressive drugs like steroids and their associated side effects.

Professor David Wraith, who led the research, said: “Insight into the molecular basis of antigen-specific immunotherapy opens up exciting new opportunities to enhance the selectivity of the approach while providing valuable markers with which to measure effective treatment. These findings have important implications for the many patients suffering from autoimmune conditions that are currently difficult to treat.”

To read more follow this link to the full news article and full published paper.

Meditation New Term Dates for September

For those of you who have found meditation a helpful way to manage your condition. Here are the September term dates for the lunchtime meditations at the Bodhisattva Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Centre, Brighton.


12 Friday 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
17 Wednesday 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
19 Friday 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
24 Wednesday 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
26 Friday 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM

August 2014 Coffee and Chat

On a lovely warm sunny day, we had another successful coffee and chat with two new members joining our group. One had been able to find us thanks to our Facebook page. Big thank you goes to Flo who has been working hard over the summer to keep it updated for us. Please follow the link at the bottom of this page if you haven’t seen it yet.

Although lupus is said to be a rare condition, for the second time this year within our own group, a member has found a fellow lupus patient who lives just a couple of doors away from them. We hope they’ll be able to offer each other some understanding and support and that the group has helped them to to feel less isolated. It just goes to show how many people there may be with lupus right now who are living not that far away from you!