David Wofsy, M.D.
Dr. Wofsy’s research is focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to autoimmune diseases. For many years, this work was conducted in murine models for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but in recent years Dr. Wofsy has become increasingly involved in clinical trials of new therapies in humans. The principal strategy of the work in murine models has been to use monoclonal antilymphocyte antibodies (mAb) or recombinant fusion proteins to inhibit selected lymphocyte subsets, surface molecules, or secreted products in mice that spontaneously develop an illness that closely resembles SLE in people. This research has two closely related goals. First, by inhibiting selected targets in lupus-prone mice, Dr. Wofsy seeks to determine the role of distinct cell subsets, surface molecules, or cytokines in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. Second, by identifying components of the immune system that promote SLE, Dr. Wofsy seeks to develop new approaches to the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Wofsy’s research first demonstrated the critical importance of CD4+ T cells in promoting murine lupus, and then suggested the use of non-depleting anti-CD4 mAb in the treatment of autoimmune diseases in humans. Subsequently, Dr. Wofsy and his colleagues showed that selective inhibition of T cell costimulation via CD28 and/or CD40-ligand could produce profound benefit in lupus-prone mice. Based in part on these observations, Dr. Wofsy is now conducting clinical trials designed to determine whether inhibition of T cell costimulation can be effective in people with SLE.