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LRI awards wide-ranging research grants to drive next generation of scientific discovery in lupus
Date:3/8/2011

ngs may lead to powerful new ways to identify and modify this response in women with lupus and address serious complications for a particularly vulnerable patient population.

  • Mark Walter, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, will use LRI grant funding to directly examine human lupus samples and identify the type 1 interferon (IFNαs) molecules responsible the overactive immune response in lupus that causes damage to tissue and organs.

    People with lupus produce significant amounts of type 1 IFNα molecules, and it has been demonstrated that blocking these molecules can reduce lupus symptoms. However, it is unclear which specific interferon molecule in the type 1 family is responsible for lupus complications.

    If successful, this exciting research will open the door to more precisely targeted anti-IFN therapies in lupus, help to spare patients from unnecessary treatments and pave the way for potential therapies in the future.

  • Tyler Curiel, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, will explore possible scientific causes for the disproportionately high prevalence of lupus in females.

    With an interdisciplinary background in medicine and cancer immunology, Dr. Curiel brings a new and creative perspective to studying lupus. Building off of his previous research in mice, he will study how specific cell pathways that regulate the immune system leave women more susceptible than men to lupus and other autoimmune illnesses.

    His research begs the question: Could female predominance in lupus be due to a failure of regulatory T cells in the immune system triggered by the presence of estrogen?

    The complete list of the Lupus Research Institute grant recipients includes:

    • Natalia Beglova, Ph.D. (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center)
    • Robert Clancy, Ph
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    Contact: Amanda Sellers
    asellers@spectrumscience.com
    202-955-6222
    Spectrum
    Source:Eurekalert

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