Role of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
NIAMS leads and coordinates the Federal
biomedical research effort in lupus by
conducting and supporting research projects,
research training, clinical trials, and
epidemiologic studies and by disseminating
information on research results.
NIAMS funds many scientists across the
United States who are studying the causes
and mechanisms of tissue injury in SLE and
why lupus strikes women and certain
minority populations more frequently.
addition, NIAMS has established the first
Specialized Centers of Research (SCORs)
devoted to lupus. These centers enable basic
scientists and clinicians to collaborate
closely on lupus research.
To further the study of the genetics of lupus
and to provide a resource for all researchers
in this field, NIAMS has established a lupus
registry and repository.
study families in which two or more members
have been diagnosed with lupus collect and
continually update clinical, demographic,
and laboratory data on these individuals
and submit the data to the lupus registry.
Blood, cell, and tissue samples and DNA
from these individuals will be stored in the
The registry and repository will allow all
lupus researchers access to an enormously
valuable database of information on lupus
patients. For example, researchers will be
able to analyze each DNA sample in the
repository for the presence of a standard set
of genetic markers.
A centralized database
will maintain this genetic information along
with clinical and laboratory information
from the registry.
Together, these data can be
used as the starting point for genetic analysis
to identify possible lupus genes.
genes that cause the disease may help
researchers develop new treatments.
addition, this research will help identify
which lupus patients will develop the most
severe manifestations of the disease.
will help doctors decide who needs the most
The research advances of the past have led to
significant improvements in the prognosis for
patients with lupus.
As current research efforts
unfold, there is continued hope for new
treatments, further improvements in patient
quality of life, and ultimately, for ways in
which to prevent or cure the disease.
Source: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Dept of Health and Human Services