We are focused exclusively on diseases known to be caused by the abnormal behavior of B cells, including all forms of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS).
WHAT ARE B CELLS?
B cells belong to a family of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes include B cells, T cells, and NK cells. B cells play a crucial role in the immune system by producing antibodies to fight infections. By far, diseases attributed to the abnormal growth or function of B cells are among some of the most common.
WHAT ARE B-CELL DISEASES?
The constellation of diseases that arise from abnormally growing or behaving B cells is substantial. One group of diseases related to abnormal B-cell growth is malignant lymphomas, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). There are over 80 types of NHL, approximately 40 to 50 of which are due to malignant B cells. These diseases can include some of the slowest and fastest growing cancers known to medicine. Some of the more common B-cell malignancies include marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), follicular lymphoma (FL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), and CLL.
The other major group of diseases caused by abnormally functioning B cells is autoimmune disorders. These diseases result from inappropriate production of antibodies from the B cells. These antibodies cannot discriminate “self” from “non-self,” and inadvertently mount a disabling immune response against normal organs. Examples of common and very debilitating autoimmune disorders include multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).