A bioinformatics and network analysis framework to find novel therapeutics for autoimmunity

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The immune system protects a host from foreign pathogens. In rare cases, the immune system can attack the cells of the host organism causing autoimmune diseases. We outline a computational framework that combines bioinformatics and network analysis with an emerging targets platform. The computational framework presented here can be used to find drug targets for autoimmune diseases. It can also be used to find existing drugs that can be repurposed to treat autoimmune diseases based on networks of interactions or similarities between different diseases. Information on which gene regions are associated with the disease (single nucleotide polymorphisms) can be used in gene therapy when that technique becomes viable. Our analysis also revealed immune cell subtypes that are implicated in these diseases. These immune cell subtypes can be selected for immunotherapy experiments. Finally, our analysis also reveals intra-cellular and protein-protein interaction networks and pathways that can be targeted with small molecule inhibitors. The downstream off-target effects of these inhibitors can also be determined from such a network analysis. In summary, our computational framework can be used to find novel therapeutics for autoimmune diseases and potentially even other dysfunctions.

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Network Biology
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International Academy of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
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No funding was received for this work.