This is pretty exciting:https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200213135800.htm
Summary: Breakthrough cellular genomics technology has allowed researchers to reveal genetic mutations causing rogue behavior in the cells that cause autoimmune disease. ... They also uncovered how these cells 'go rogue' by evading checkpoints that normally stop immune cells from targeting the body's own tissues.
"We have developed a technique that allows us to look directly at the cells that cause autoimmune disease -- it's as though we're looking through a new microscope lens for the first time, learning more about
autoimmune disease than was ever possible before."
The evolution of autoimmune disease
Through their analysis, the researchers discovered that the disease-causing immune cells of the vasculitis patients had accumulated a number of mutations before they produced the damaging rheumatoid factors.
"We identified step-wise genetic changes in the cells at the root of an autoimmune disease for the first time, tracing an 'evolutionary tree' of how normal immune cells develop into disease-causing cells," says co-senior author Dr Joanne Reed, who heads the Rheumatology and Autoimmunity Group at the Garvan Institute.
Remarkably, the researchers found that some of the first gene mutations that occurred in these rogue cells were known to drive lymphomas (cancerous immune cells).
"We uncovered 'lymphoma driver mutations', including a variant of the CARD11 gene, which allowed the rogue immune cells to evade immune tolerance checkpoints and multiply unchecked," explains Professor Goodnow, who first hypothesised that disease-causing autoimmune cells employ this cancer tactic in 2007.