Advances in Lupus Research
Scientists know that systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
is an autoimmune disease, and recent studies have begun
to unravel some of the elements involved. Genetic,
environmental, and hormonal factors are all believed
to play roles in causing lupus. Much research is being
conducted to understand these factors and how they work
Epidemiological studies may yield further clues about
the cause of lupus.
For example, SLE is more prevalent
in women, especially those in the reproductive years,
than in men. And while people of all ethnicities get
lupus, the incidence rate for Asian women (particularly
those of Chinese and Filipino descent) and African
American women is three to four times higher than it is
for Caucasian women.
African American women also tend
to develop the disease at a younger age, develop more
serious complications, and have a higher mortality rate
from the disease than do Caucasian women.
are trying to find out why lupus is more common in these
Health professionals continue to search
for better ways to care for people with
Understanding what causes the
disease and why certain people are
more likely to develop it may one day
lead to promising new treatments for,
or even prevention of, lupus.
meantime, researchers continue to look
for new treatments and ways to modify
existing ones so they can diminish or
eliminate side effects and improve the
quality of life for people who have lupus.
During the last 15 years, researchers
have made a tremendous amount of
progress in lupus research.
of studies on this disease has increased
exponentially, and most researchers
believe that answers to some of the
key questions are close at hand.
chapter highlights some of the recent
research advances in lupus and provides
an overview of the direction of current
Source: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Dept of Health and Human Services