Scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation are seeking lupus patients of Asian descent to participate in an important genetic research project. The project is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Lupus Genetic Studies, which is working to find the genes that cause lupus in the hopes of one day developing a cure.
Having an ethnically diverse participant base in vital to identifying the lupus-linked genes. It is estimated that Asian females, particularly those of Chinese and Filipino descent, may be affected three to four times more often than Caucasian females. At this time, less than two percent of the families currently involved in lupus genetic studies in the United States are Asian. The participation of many Asian families is needed to detect the genetic factors that contribute to the development of lupus in Asian populations.
This is a large undertaking as it has been shown that many genes play a role in the development of lupus. Finding these genes is an important first step to improving lupus treatment and ultimately, to preventing lupus in future generations. Because the genes each individual has may determine his/her symptoms or influence a patient’s disease severity, researching SLE is complex. The participation of families of Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Filipino, East Indian and Vietnamese descent as well as others of Asian heritage in fundamental to unlocking the mystery of lupus is Asians.
This research may help identify the causes of lupus which affects millions of people around the world. In lupus and other autoimmune illnesses, immune system dysfunction results in inflammation and damage to the body’s own cells and tissues. Lupus can affect any part of the body – most commonly the skin, joints, blood and kidneys – and can be life-threatening. The disease primarily strikes women and has no known cure.
Participation in the study for lupus patients and their family members involves a phone interview, completion of study paperwork and donation of a blood sample. All information is kept strictly confidential. Travel to Oklahoma City is not required. There is no fee for participation. The study will incur all costs associated with volunteering, and participants will be nominally compensated for their time.
If you are a physician who sees lupus patients, please contact the study and a representative wills end you more information about the research and how to refer families to the study. For more information or to participate in the Oklahoma Lupus Genetic Studies, please contact a study recruiter toll-free at 1-888-655-8787 (1-888-OK-LUPUS).
The Lupus Genetic Studies are funded and overseen by the National Institutes of Health and overseen locally by the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Institutional Review Boards. The principal investigator is John B. Harley, M.D., Ph.D.