It might be hard to believe with modern science, but Lupus is a disease we know very little about. Doctors are still trying to figure out what causes it, who'll get it, and how to treat it. The Lupus Research Alliance has been working on funding research to answer these questions. By providing grants to John D. Mountz, MD, PhD, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, many strides have been made toward uncovering the root cause of lupus.
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His latest research will focus on interferon-beta, searching for proof that these set off chain reactions that trigger an inflammatory response that can lead to a progressively worse disease in patients.
What is it about interferon-beta? These protein molecules are used to trigger the immune system to help guard against pathogens. Dr. Mountz has found that patients with high levels of these molecules are likely to also have higher levels of autoantibodies and kidney disease.
Dr. Mountz feels that if he is able to uncover the reason for this increase, he'll have a much better idea of what causes lupus and how to correct it in the body. It could even lead to therapies that allow patients to create a tolerance that re-stabilizes or normalizes their immune system so they don’t have to be on the treatment forever.
Reading about this new research makes me really hopeful for the future. My brother has lupus and the hope of finding better ways to treat or prevent it would be a dream come true. It’s because of this dream that I’m trying to raise money for lupus research every day. If you’re interested in showing your support click here to get your own pair of Lupus Awareness Studs.
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