Rare autoimmune disease that attacks brain can be triggered by testicular cancer, new study says
Scientists using a novel diagnostic tool have discovered that testicular cancer can trigger a rare autoimmune disease.
That process stems from antibodies fighting the cancer going on to attack the brain, according to a recent story by Lois Zoppi in News Medical Life Sciences online.
The severe neurodegenerative disease that results (it's called "testicular cancer-associated paraneoplastic encephalitis"), the article says, "is often mis- or undiagnosed" — which means that appropriate treatment to limit its effects "often comes too late."
The encephalitis causes men to lose control of their limbs, eye movement and, sometimes, their speech.
"Until now," the story continues, "scientists have been unable to identify which specific antibody was causing a staining pattern only seen in patients with testicular cancer. But the new study…showed a unique biomarker responsible for the disease."
A research team based at Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, the Mayo Clinic and the University of California at San Francisco made the discovery via "a variation of 'programmable phage display' technology, which simultaneously screens over 700,000 autoantibody targets across every human protein," the piece continues.
|Dr. Sean Pittock|
The story also quotes Joe DeRisi, who worked on the study, to the effect that their joint research "is the tip of the iceberg. We know there are more paraneoplastic autoimmune diseases waiting to be discovered and more people to help."
The study was published in "The New England Journal of Medicine."
More information about other studies of disease can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.