Margot van Weijsten
People suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) have painful and swollen joints. A major player in RA are autoreactive B-cells: immune cells that mistakenly react to citrullinated self-proteins and cause inflammation. Current therapies for RA suppresses either the entire immune system or all B-cells, which makes the patient vulnerable for other diseases. Our goal is to eliminate only the B-cells that recognize citrullinated proteins. Right now, we are investigating how peptide valency affects whether a peptide is taken up by the B-cell. Later we will use this knowledge to design peptide constructs that specifically inhibit the B-cells or lead to apoptosis.