Profound Immune System Discovery Opens Door to Halting Destruction of Lupus

Lupus Research Institute Funds Innovative Hypothesis and Scientific Breakthrough

(New York, NY) December, 2007 – A researcher funded by the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) has discovered an entirely new and powerful molecular switch that controls the inflammatory response of the immune system. The major finding, reported in the December 14th issue of the journal Cell, means that new methods can now be pursued to shut down uncontrolled inflammation, restore immune system regulation, and treat chronic autoimmune disorders such as lupus.

In autoimmunity, the immune system designed to fend off outside invaders mistakenly mounts an out-of-control destructive inflammatory attack against the body’s own tissues and organs. “We have found an essential switch that controls immune inflammation,’ said LRI award recipient, Greg Lemke, PhD, professor of Molecular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute.

The breakthrough was supported at a critical juncture by the LRI, the nation’s only organization solely dedicated to funding novel and innovative science to prevent, treat, and cure lupus. “Without the LRI, this project would have stopped—and a fundamental discovery in immunology would not have happened,” Dr. Lemke said.