November 7, 2023
This October, the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) held its annual scientific conference, Forum for Discovery, in New York City. This event serves as a pivotal gathering where LRA-funded researchers from across the globe convene to share their recent breakthroughs. Forum for Discovery serves as a catalyst, fostering interactions upon which further groundbreaking discoveries and innovative collaborations are built.
At this year’s Forum for Discovery, more than 60 researchers presented their latest research, delving into thematic topics that promised to advance our understanding of lupus, including:
- B Cell Dysfunction in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- Neuropsychiatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (NPSLE)
- Gut Microbiome Imbalances Underlying SLE
- Disease Pathways and Mechanistic Insights
- Mechanisms of Lupus Nephritis
- Pediatric Lupus
- Translational Lupus Research: Biomarkers, Novel Targets, and Beyond
- Translational Developments: Foundational and Clinical Perspectives
Attendees, which included LRA-funded investigators as well as pharmaceutical representatives, were pleased to hear about the exciting advances in scientific sessions that showcased the remarkable progress made in lupus research. Just a few highlights:
- William H. Robinson, M.D., Ph.D., presented his work on the effect of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection on B cells, an immune cell type often altered in SLE.
- Andrea Knight, M.D., MSCE discussed her latest research, which focuses on cognitive health in children with lupus and the impact of lupus on the developing brain.
- Michelle Kahlenberg, M.D., Ph.D., presented new findings from her research on what causes photosensitivity, which is reported in 93% of people with lupus.
- Marcus Clark, M.D., shared exciting progress from his study of individuals with tubulointerstitial inflammation, or inflammation in a specific area of the kidney, which predicts progression to kidney failure in half of patients with lupus nephritis.
We were honored to feature a keynote address by John O’Shea, M.D., the esteemed scientific director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Dr. O’Shea provided insights into the opportunities and challenges of targeting cytokines, which are proteins that can drive autoimmunity.
In addition to the Forum for Discovery meeting, the LRA hosted two pre-meeting sessions: the Alliance of Global Team Science Awardees (GTSA) Meeting, in which GTSA-funded investigators presented updates on their collaborative projects, and the Diversity in Lupus Research (DLR) Mentorship and Networking Meeting, in which DLR award recipients gained mentorship and fostered peer-to-peer relationships within the lupus research community.
The LRA remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting lupus research and empowering researchers to make groundbreaking strides towards better treatments and, ultimately, a cure. We look forward to the impactful discoveries and advancements that will undoubtedly arise from this gathering of scientific minds.