Autoimmune Technologies - Applied Biomedical Science

Areas of Research


Graves' disease is a thyroid disorder in which a hyperactive thyroid is accompanied by a goiter, an infiltrative eye disorder, or a skin disorder that usually affects the shin area. Symptoms may include nervousness, fatigue, weight loss, sweating, tachycardia, and blurred vision when the eye disorder is present.

Graves' disease is a common form of hyperthyroidism and may affect as many as 500,000 patients in the United States.

Research studies suggest that Graves' disease is associated with a retroviral particle called Human Intracisternal A-Type Particle, or HIAP. Antibodies to this virus have been found in a very high percentage of patients with Graves' disease. These antibodies have also been found in a very high percentage of patients with three other autoimmune disorders: systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren's syndrome, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers believe that all four disorders may result from infection by HIAP and that individual genetic factors such as HLA haplotype may help to determine the specific symptoms which are experienced by the infected person. Support for the possibility that HIAP infection is in fact the cause of these four disorders is provided by a study by Steinfeld et al (Rheumatology 1999;38:814-817), who showed a dramatic improvement in Sjögren's syndrome patients who were treated with the anti-retroviral drug AZT.

Several patents cover HIAP in the U.S. and other countries. Autoimmune Technologies has licensed the HIAP technology from Tulane University in order to develop diagnostic tests and therapies for Graves' disease and the other disorders. For information about diagnostic testing, go to the Graves' Disease Laboratory Test Page.

This material is not intended to take the place of a physician's advice.


Web site by: New Orleans Web Design