Scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation are seeking healthy women to participate in an important research study. The women, who will serve as controls in the study, will help researchers understand why people who suffer from the disease lupus are also at greater risk for heart disease.
The project, which is being funded by the National Institutes of Health, is examining whether certain antibodies produced by lupus patients cause elevated triglyceride levels and are a major contributor to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. The researchers have already enrolled the required 200 lupus patients in the study, and they are now seeking to enroll healthy control subjects so that they can compare their results to those of lupus patients.
The participation of healthy African-American women is particularly crucial to the study—lupus disproportionately strikes African-American women, and researchers need to match results obtained from each lupus patient with a healthy control subject of the same sex and of a similar age and ethnic background. Researchers are also in need of healthy American Indian and Caucasian women to participate.
Participation in the study involves completion of study paperwork, donation of three small blood samples over three years, and undergoing two carotid ultrasounds (a noninvasive procedure that is a measure of atherosclerosis) during the same three-year period. There is no fee for participation. The study will incur all costs associated with volunteering, and participants will be nominally compensated for their time.
“The data we obtain from lupus patients is only helpful if we can compare it to results from healthy subjects,” said Morris Reichlin, M.D., the lead investigator on the study. “So the enrollment of healthy volunteers is absolutely crucial to this study.”
According to Reichlin, the study could provide important insights into treating heart disease in lupus patients. “If we are able to understand the relationships between lupus antibodies and heart disease, we’ll be better able to define targets for therapy. And with better therapeutic targets, we can curb heart disease in lupus patients.”
For more information or to participate in this research study, please contact study coordinator Cathy Velte at (405) 271-7180.
Chartered in 1946, OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease.