Leading the way to a cure

Lupus Research Update: 2008 Volume 4

Volume 4, 2008 - Online Edition | In This Issue

Message From The President >
ALR Leadership Paves Way For Research Breakthroughs >
Success! Congress Passes Department of Defense Funding for Lupus Research >
Lupus Research Progress: Meet Dr. Anselm Hennis / Meet Dr. Anne Davidson >
The Faces of Lupus – Francine Katz: 2008 ALR Volunteer of the Year >
The Faces of Lupus – Angela Barmby Greenberg: 2008 ALR Quest for a Cure Award >
2008 Events Highlights >
Successful 2008 ALR National Volunteer Meeting and Advocacy Day >
Celebrating ALR Volunteers at the Working Together For A Cure National Awards Dinner >
ALR Top Walkers, Teams & Corporate Sponsors >

Lupus Research Progress

Reporting back on ALR-funded research projects.

In this issue, updates from two researchers focused on kidney (renal) disease in lupus: Dr. Anselm Hennis at the Chronic Disease Research Centre in Barbados, and Dr. Anne Davidson at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

In 2004, the ALR initiated and organized the effort to include lupus as a disease eligible for funding through the DOD. Since then, the ALR has successfully kept lupus listed every fiscal year, and to date, the DOD has awarded $5.1 million to lupus researchers.

Meet Dr. Anselm HennisDr. Anselm Hennis

Professor Hennis and his team received ALR funding to create a registry of all cases of lupus on the island of Barbados. The majority of Barbadians and African Americans share a common West African heredity, and rates of lupus and associated complications are high in both populations.

The national registry has provided a wealth of data. The prevalence of SLE is among the highest reported in the world and the team also discovered that renal disease is three times more common among women of African descent in Barbados than in Caucasian groups in the United States. Now, with more doctors aware of the connection between renal disease and lupus, simple dip stix screenings to detect urinary protein are regularly requested. As a result, the kidney disease is detected earlier and medications can be prescribed to prevent or delay the onset of renal failure.

Meet Dr. Anne Davidson

Dr. Anne DavidsonDr. Davidson's first accomplishment in her ALR funded research was to test two combination treatments that were able to induce remission in mice with lupus. Her research found that while the treatments worked well for some types of mice, it was not effective for others, confirming that no one treatment will work for all. One of the successful treatment regimens being studied by Dr. Davidson and her team is now being used in a human clinical trial sponsored by the Immune Tolerance Network.

"If we understand the mechanisms involved, we can come up with a new way to approach preventing inflammation of the kidney in SLE-induced kidney disease."

In addition, Dr. Davidson studied how the given treatment was impacting the kidney to induce remission. Her team came up with 238 genes that were consistently turned on with clinical onset of lupus and disappeared in remission. They shared that data with Dr. Matthias Kretzler at the University of Michigan, another ALR-funded researcher. They discovered that many of the genes activated in the kidneys of mice were also common in humans with SLE-induced kidney disease. Further research is underway to use this information to determine how we can intervene in preventing the cells that express these genes from becoming activated.

1.5 million

people in the U.S. have Lupus.

172 million

dollars committed to lupus research by the Lupus Research Alliance.

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