Dr. Betty Diamond, a rheumatologist and professor at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, said in a press release, “Our study found that a low level of or no Blimp-1 protein in a particular cell type led to an increase in the protein CTSS which caused the immune system to identify healthy cells as something to attack — particularly in females.” Reports add that the findings could lead to potential treatments for lupus.

This article originally appeared on Rheumatology Advisor