Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, heart, and lungs. Under normal function, the immune system makes proteins called antibodies in order to protect and fight against viruses and bacteria. In lupus the immune system is unable to differentiate between foreign agents and healthy tissue. This leads the immune system to direct antibodies against the healthy tissue, causing swelling, pain, and tissue damage.
Feinstein Institute researchers are studying a type of lupus called systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, which is a severe form of lupus because it can affect any of the body’s organs. They are gathering genetic information to identify individuals who are at risk for developing autoimmune disease, developing new therapies for lupus and testing promising new treatments in several clinical trials.
Feinstein Institute investigators conducting lupus research include Yousef Al-Abed; Cynthia Aranow; Ona E. Bloom; Anne Davidson; Betty Diamond; Richard Alan Furie; Peter K. Gregersen; Patricio T. Huerta; Tanisha Anne Jackson; Annette T. Lee; Meggan Mackay; Thomas L. Rothstein; Kim R. Simpfendorfer and Chris C. Tang.