In order to understand how autoimmunity comes about it is very important to have the basics of how the immune system works. The immune system is a very sophisticated defence mechanism. The immune system is composed of several interacting and related processes, which defend our body from invading bacteria, viruses and pathogens (antigens).
There are several types of immune defence mechanisms:
- Innate immunity
- Passive Immunity
- Acquired Immunity
Innate immunity refers to a non-specific immune response and is usually the first line of defence. These involve skin barrier, tears and mucosal secretion, to prevent bacterial infection getting through and causing a problem. The innate humoral immunity includes various immune mediators such as, interferons and cytokines, as well as the blood’s complement system. These mediators play a very important role in defending our body against invading pathogens. For example Tumour Necrosis Factor – Alpha (TNF-a) is part of the immune defence and surveillance. This is a powerful molecule and as its name suggests, kills tumour cells. TNF-a has been shown to play a role in the onset of autoimmune conditions such as Psoriasis, Eczema, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Biologics, which are antibodies designed to neutralise the TNF-a have been shown to be effective in the treatment of severe cases of Psoriasis, Eczema and Rheumatoid Arthritis, however by removing this important immune mediator, we are taking away an important arsenal from our defence mechanism, leaving us open to potential infections etc.
Cytokines play a very important role in the body’s defence and there are more of them being discovered every day and some of them have been shown to play a role in the development of the symptoms of the autoimmune condition. Once again, biologics are being developed to counter these specific cytokines, to reduce the symptoms of the autoimmune condition and once again by removing these cytokines the body is left open to certain infections etc.
This refers to the immunity in the form of antibodies, which have been passed from mother to child and play an important role in the early life of an infant. The passive immunity is not a long lasting immunity and these antibodies begin to disappear around 6-12 months of the child’s life. The other form of passive immunity is when antiserum is injected in an attempt to remove certain toxins and antigens. This form of immunity is short term and in some instances, over time and over use of these antiserum will lead to the body recognising these antibodies as foreign and reacting against them. Furthermore, over time, they tend to become less effective, as is the case with many biologics used to treat autoimmune conditions. This may be due to the person’s own immune system recognising these antibodies and rejecting them.
Acquired immunity is when the immune system is finely tuned to respond to specific antigens / pathogens and invading bacteria / viruses. This immunity improves with increased exposure to the antigens and your immune response becomes specific to the invading pathogens and antigens. This is also the way vaccination works. When a weak form of a pathogen or antigen is presented to the body, the body develops a response to the antigen and when in future it encounters it again, it is already capable of developing a specific antibody response and defeating the pathogen.
Autoimmunity refers to a condition where the immune system of the person suffering from autoimmunity tends to attack the person’s own body. How autoimmunity comes about is a complex process, however, in autoimmune conditions, the immune system sees the person’s own molecules and proteins as antigens and once the immune system has been activated, for example the person has an infection of some sort, then the immune response remains activated, even though the foreign invading infection has been destroyed and is no longer a threat. This is because the activated immune system remains active, as it continues to see the self-molecules as antigens.
In the early onset of autoimmunity, this recognition of self molecules is not strong and the condition presents itself as mild, but over time, due to continued activation of the immune system by external pathogens and infections, ultimately will lead to increased specificity of the immune response to the self molecules and over time the mild autoimmune condition will progress to moderate and ultimately to severe and it may even become life threatening.
So why is it so difficult to find a cure to autoimmunity?
The list of autoimmune conditions is rather long, but the following list gives an idea of autoimmune conditions: Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea, Lupus, Psoriatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis and the list goes on.
Although some immune mediators seem to play a central role in the symptoms of the autoimmune condition; for example TNF-a plays an important role in the symptoms of Psoriasis, Eczema and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The use of biologics in neutralising TNF-a seems to abate these conditions and bring them under control; however, biologics are not a cure and if the treatment is stopped the autoimmune conditions seem to return more severe than before. Furthermore, when a person is being treated with these biologics, in the long term they seem to lose efficacy and also leave the person open to side effects and severe infections. There are other drugs that dampen the immune response and are used in the treatment of autoimmune conditions, but invariably all of them have side effects.
Furthermore, at present there is uncertainty aboutwhich molecules play what role in any particular autoimmune condition, which makes developing effective products in treating and potentially curing autoimmunity very difficult. Most pharmaceutical companies are concentrating on reducing the symptoms, even though the long-term use of some of the current drugs leads to complications at a later time in life.
How does ENDOR work in treating autoimmunity?
ENDOR products are based on the discovery of an immune molecule, which signals the activated immune response back to normal levels. For the purposes of this article, let’s call this compound ENDOR active. GNP Australia, an Australian Pharmaceutical company has developed products; creams, gels and oral capsules, that contain the precursors to ENDOR active compound. These precursors, when presented to the immune system, are converted into ENDOR active, which in turn can turn the activated immune response back to normal levels. This does not shut the immune system down, as is the case with steroidal products, but returns it to normal levels. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that if a person who is very sensitive to insect bits is bitten, by applying the ENDOR cream to the affected area, the immune response is retuned to normal levels and the resulting blister is not formed.
ENDOR active does not interfere with the normal immune mediators and does not shut the immune system down, however by signalling the activated immune response back to normal levels, the overactive immune response, which is responsible for the development of symptoms of the autoimmune conditions, will abate and the normal natural healing process can take over.
ENDOR active is produced by the person’s own immune cells. Therefore when the basic ingredients (precursors) are presented to the person’s own immune cells, it will in effect kick-start the immune cells to convert the precursors into the active compound. It is therefore very important that the person’s own immune system is function and is not being dampened or shut down by immune suppressing drugs.
The precursors to ENDOR active are natural ingredients and it is anticipated that over time the body will begin to source these ingredients independently and will be able to produce the ENDOR active to calm the overactive immune response and manage the autoimmunity. Furthermore, because the immune system is not being suppressed, the person’s immune system, remains available, to protect the body from bacterial and viral infections and also continue to have immune surveillance.
It is anticipated that the long-term use of ENDOR products will lead to reduced flare-ups and reduced severity of the flare-ups. We have observed that when ENDOR cream has been used on young children and babies, for the treatment of Eczema, over a relatively short period of time, the child has grown out of the condition and is able to live a normal life.
ENDOR products offer an alternative, safe treatment for a number of autoimmune conditions. To date GNP Australia have developed products for the treatment of Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea, Atopic Dermatitis and most recently ENDOR Arthritis Gel to manage the pain in Arthritis.