A Rochester physician is helping to coordinate the national response against lupus. I?aki Sanz, M.D., professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, has been named chair of the research committee of the Lupus Foundation of America.
Sanz will help the group determine priorities for research into new ways to treat and prevent the disease.
Currently the University is known as the home of one of the nation?s strongest lupus research and treatment efforts, thanks to the work of Sanz and his colleagues. Sanz and R. John Looney, M.D., and Jennifer Anolik, M.D., Ph.D., discovered that the drug rituximab, approved to treat lymphoma, appears to be effective at treating lupus. In a small study, the team virtually wiped out symptoms of lupus in several people who had suffered from the condition for years. Now the team is coordinating a larger national study to see if the results hold true for a larger group of patients as well.
The research with rituximab is some of the most exciting research going on in lupus, which affects roughly 1 million people in the United States. Women are about 10 times as likely as men to get lupus, an autoimmune disease that can affect a person?s joints, skin, blood, kidneys, and even organs like the lungs and brain. Fatigue, arthritic joints, and infections are among the most common symptoms. Many patients live a normal life while taking medicine and working with a doctor to keep tabs on the disease, perhaps feeling some joint pain or having a rash occasionally, while others are debilitated by the illness that can even include kidney failure or stroke.
A new treatment like rituximab would offer an alternative to current treatments, most of which are laden with severe side effects that can include serious infections, infertility, tumors, and osteoporosis. The idea to test the drug in lupus patients came about because of the team?s strong grounding in the basic biology of cells known as B cells, which are a crucial part of the immune system, making antibodies that flag down and kill microbes and other invaders in the body.
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Sub-editorLupus :: Rochester physician helps lead approach against lupus
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on April 24th, 2007 at 11:10 am.
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