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ARRA Investments in Lupus

Public Health Burden
Lupus, a disabling and life-threatening autoimmune disease, affects more than 1.5 million Americans, 90 percent of whom are women. Lupus is 2-3 times more common among African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, than among Caucasians.

No new treatments have been approved for lupus in forty years. A variety of ARRA funded grants are exploring new targets to treat this condition. A few include:
  • Advancing our understanding of immune system regulation in lupus, which could guide development of treatment approaches. 1
  • Defining how a particular therapy restores normal regulation of the immune system in lupus and how it may be applied to other autoimmune diseases2.
  • Seeking to understand the factors produced by lymphocytes that lead to the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. This project may reveal new therapeutic targets against lupus. 3
Scientists have made progress in defining the association between human leukocyte antigen region genes, or genetic markers, and immune-mediated diseases. ARRA-funded projects are exploring genetic risk factors that are specific for lupus.
  • One project aims to identify genetic risk factors in subjects with autoimmunity, including lupus, as well as the identification of gene-environment interactions that are involved in human autoimmune disorders. 4
  • Another project seeks to discover and validate biomarkers of lupus, which could benefit existing patients by providing more accurate diagnoses that may suggest more effective treatment. 5
Gender Disparity
Lupus disproportionately affects woman. A number of ARRA funded grants are focused on understanding the basis for this gender difference.
  • One project seeks to provide critical insight into hormonal regulation of lupus disease development and to identify novel therapeutic approaches for lupus patients. 6
  • Another project seeks to increase understanding of the molecular basis of sex bias in lupus disease and could potentially lead to better diagnostic tools, disease monitoring, and treatments. 7
Basic Research
Developing a greater understanding of the fundamental biologic principles involved in lupus is critical for diagnosing, treating and preventing this disease. ARRA supported work in this area includes:
  • Improving the understanding of the causes of neuropsychiatric syndromes in systemic lupus. 8
  • Investigating the natural mechanisms that maintain self-tolerance and respond to infection and inflammation. This may offer insights into how autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, develop. 9
  • Advancing understanding of fundamental immune mechanisms, which could lead to improvements in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. 10
  • Studying the balance that must be maintained by the immune system between recognition of infection and prevention of autoimmunity11.

  1. 1R21AI070897-01A2 -- Protein Kinase A-Dependent Regulation of T cell Accumulation in Lupus -- Khan, Islam
  2. 2R01AI041985-29 -- Genetic, Viral and Immunlogic Studies in New Zealand Mice -- Datta, Syamal
  3. 2R01AI071110-02W1 -- Suppression of Pathogenic Autoantibodies in Lupus by Inhibition of AID -- Mountz, John
  4. 3R01AI068759-03S1 -- Mapping Autoimmune Phenotypes in Multiplex Families -- Gregersen, Peter
  5. 1F32AI080086-01A1 -- Profiling Epigenetic Biomarkers for the Study and Treatment of Lupus -- Liu, Chih
  6. 3K08AI073739-02W1 -- Progesterone and Estrogen Differentially Regulate DC Functions in Lupus Autoimmunity -- Hughes, Grant
  7. 1R21AI083923-01 -- The Role of Sex in Self Antigen Generation in SLE -- Pisetsky, David
  8. 3P01AI073693-02W1 -- Anti-NMDA Receptor Antibodies in Brain Dysfunction: Lessons from Lupus -- Diamond, Betty
  9. 2R56AI049660-06 -- A Model System for the Study of Human B-cell Tolerance -- Sanz, Ignacio
  10. 3R01AI068063-04W1 -- Cell Death and Antibody-Mediated Protection from Autoimmunity -- Silverman, Gregg J
  11. 3R01AI072429-02W1 -- The Cell Biology of Toll-Like Receptor 9: A Mechanism to Prevent Autoimmunity -- Barton, Gregory

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