Leading the way to a cure


Molecular Signatures in Lupus: Untangling infection from inflammation

Mackay, Megan, ND

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Many people with lupus experience serious infections because of the immunosuppressive nature of the disease itself as well as the effects of medications used to treat it. However, it is  difficult for physicians to differentiate between these infections and severe disease flares because both may have similar  symptoms: fever, rash, disorientation, lung problems and  inflammation. This confusion can delay or confound  potentially lifesaving treatment. 

With her ALR grant, Dr. Mackay and her team plan to  genetically profile white blood cells in hospitalized patients with lupus to try and identify a “sepsis signature” that will  tell the difference between those experiencing an infection  and those experiencing a disease flare. 

What this study means for people with lupus: Identifying an easily measured “sepsis signature” will enable physicians to begin treating infections and disease flares more quickly and more appropriately within hours  of hospital admission, reducing the risk of complications and death.

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