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Discovery of Gene Linked to Gender in Lupus
Collaboration between two ALR-funded researchers, Dr. Chaim Jacob at the University of Southern California and Dr. Chandra Mohan of the University of Texas Southwestern, has lead to the discovery of a possible genetic link explaining why women are ten times more susceptible to lupus than men.
Dr. Jacob’s work identified several key genes that appeared to have a role in childhood-onset SLE, including IRAK1. Dr. Mohan’s research then helped substantiate the role of IRAK1 in causing the disease. In the past, researchers have focused on hormonal differences as a possible explanation for gender differences in lupus.
The researchers were also able to establish that blocking the IRAK1 gene shut down lupus, so further research is underway to better understand the causal relationship between IRAK1 and lupus. There is a strong potential for important new therapies from this research.
“Even before that,” says Dr. Jacob, “our study of the IRAK1 gene, among others, will help doctors diagnose the disease faster and more accurately.” That’s important because lupus is one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose in its early stages. Dr. Jacob and Dr. Mohan are both quick to credit the Alliance for Lupus Research for their successful work. “This study,” says Dr. Jacob, “perfectly exemplifies the intent of the ALR to cause interaction between lupus investigators, which brings results much faster.”