The appearance of autoantibody to DNA followed sequentially by the disappearance of anti-DNA and appearance of DNA antigen in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus demonstrated that autoantibodies participate in immune complex–mediated pathogenesis. Continuing studies showed that autoantibodies are also useful biomarkers in clinical diagnosis and important reagents for elucidating the structure and function of intracellular proteins in cell biology. Recently, autoantibodies to tumor-associated antigens have been identified in cancer, and these findings have expanded the field of cancer immunodiagnostics.
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