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Profound immune system discovery opens door to halting destruction of lupus
Date:12/13/2007

certain other autoimmune illnesses, the TAM signalling network may be seriously compromised. The switch to inhibit inflammation on this network may be absentthereby resulting in immune system pandemonium.

People with lupus tend to have low levels of a blood factor (proteins S) that TAM receptors require to carry out their job. Giving modified versions of protein S, or its related TAM activator Gas6, to people with lupus may represent a means of halting the immune system destruction of precious organs and tissues. This is definitely something we intend to investigate, Dr. Lemke said.

Winning Strategy

Dr. Lemke is one of 85 recipients of $300,000, 3-year grants given by the LRI since 2000 to explore brilliant but untested novel hypotheses as to why and how lupus occurs, and what can be done to prevent and stop the illness.

Founded by families and shaped by scientists, the Institute has had remarkable success in breathing life in to ideas such as Dr. Lemkes that would otherwise not have obtained funding. LRI recipients span the nationthey are at 51 academic medical centers in 20 statesand work in such diverse disciplines as immunology, genetics, cardiology, nephrology, dermatology, and neurology.

This strategy of funding only novel scientific ideas in lupus has more than demonstrated its power, said William E. Paul, MD, chief of the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease-National Institutes of Health and chair of the LRIs Scientific Advisory Board. Through its annual support, the LRI strengthens the lupus research landscape and moves novel concepts forward to secure large-scale federal funding.

Already, LRI-funded scientists have turned the Institutes $9 million investment from 2001 to 2004 into a record $30 million in new grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other sources. Dr. Lemkes research program provides an example of this l
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Contact: Liane Stegmaier
lstegmaier@lupusny.org
212-812-9881
Lupus Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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