When the immune system loses the ability to distinguish between dangerous interlopers—like viruses, bacteria and fungi—and its own cells, the body’s defense mechanisms become weapons of self-destruction. The resulting barrage of friendly fire can cause more than 80 different diseases. Chief among them is lupus, and OMRF has emerged a world leader in the study and treatment of this life-threatening illness.
OMRF scientists are world leaders in research on and treatment for lupus. Our researchers have helped identify 33 of the 50 known genes associated with lupus. They continue working with national and international partners in the quest to unmask the genetic culprits behind the disease.
Meanwhile, Dr. Judith James has made a series of key findings that point to a common cold virus as a potential environmental trigger for lupus. Her work now is moving toward developing a vaccine that could one day prevent the onset of the virus—and lupus.
In OMRF’s rheumatology clinic, physician-scientists provide sick Oklahomans with access to experimental lupus treatments not yet widely available. If any of these novel therapeutics proves effective, OMRF will have played a key role in delivering the newest lupus drugs to patients in nearly a half-century.