May 10, 2019
New research results from Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that while survival rates for people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have improved overall, the rate of death was significantly higher among black patients with SLE than whites, and death occured at a younger age.
Researchers conducted an analysis of the Georgia Lupus Registry which collected data from 2002-2004 on all residents of two counties in the Atlanta metropolitan area with large black and white populations. Matching this data to the National Death Index through 2016, the results showed three to four times higher rates of death among people with SLE than the general population. A significantly higher percentage of blacks with lupus died than whites. Also, blacks with SLE were significantly younger when they died from any cause than whites with SLE (average age of 52 vs. 64 years).
Investigators concluded: “early diagnosis of SLE and proper treatment are critical to preventing long-term consequences of the disease. Current CDC efforts encourage early detection, diagnosis, and treatment, and enhanced self-management skills to mitigate racial disparities and improve overall outcomes in SLE.”
The principal investigator, Dr. Sam Lim, is a member of the Steering Committee of the Lupus Research Alliance affiliate Lupus Therapeutics, which formed the Lupus Investigators Clinical Trial Network (LuCIN) to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new therapies for lupus. LuCIN is committed to alleviating existing racial disparities in participation in clinical studies, to ensure that therapies are tested among minority populations.