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2009: A Year of Many Firsts in Efforts to Overcome Lupus
Date:12/23/2009

Researchers identified a gene linked to lupus, interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK1). Its location on the X chromosome may help explain why females are 10 times more susceptible to the disease than males. Scientists also found that people whose vitamin D tests showed low levels of the nutrient had higher levels of lupus antibodies. The study suggests that a vitamin D deficiency could serve as a catalyst to developing lupus in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease.

6. Congress Funds New and Continuing Lupus Research

In 2009, Congress provided $4 million to support the National Lupus Patient Registry, as part of a broader national epidemiological study on lupus, and $1 million for a national health provider education program to improve early diagnosis and treatment of lupus and reduce health disparities. Congress also continued to support lupus research through the Department of Defense's Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, which last year provided an additional $1.4 million for a study of lupus biomarkers.

7. New Companies Entered the Lupus Market and New Studies Planned to Develop More Tolerable and Effective Treatments for Lupus

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies continued to expand efforts during 2009 to develop and test potential new treatments for lupus. UCB and Immunomedics announced positive phase IIb study results for epratuzumab, ImmuPharma released promising findings from a final phase IIb study of Lupuzor(TM), and Genentech presented encouraging data from a phase I study of rontalizumab. In addition, approximately twenty clinical studies were underway at the end of 2009 to test possible new therapies for lupus.

8. LFA Awards New Research Funding to Address Issues Critical to Lupus Patients

The LFA awarded new funding for research grants to address issues of critical importance for people with lupus, includ
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SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America
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