Narrator: This is Science Today. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning it's a disorder in which the body's immune system essentially turns against itself. The disease affects over a million Americans, the majority of whom are women. At the University of California, San Francisco's Clinical Trials Center, associate director John Davis is working on developing safer treatments for lupus.
Davis: We have some effective treatments today, however they're associated with significant side effects. The most severe is infertility in young women because of our cytotoxic therapies, osteoporosis, increased infections because of the suppression of the immune system.
Narrator: So Davis is working on ways to target lupus more effectively, including using monoclonal antibodies to block a negative interaction between the immune system's B and T cells.
Davis: As technology gets more advanced and we learn more about the specific genes that are causing certain elements of lupus, we are going to be able to do so much more for patients.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.