Many of the world’s leading genetic, rheumatology and immunology scientists will gather in Oklahoma City October 10-14 for the 2008 Lupus Genetics Conference.
Hosted by the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the conference will discuss the latest research on the genetics of lupus, a devastating autoimmune disease suspected to affect as many as 2 million Americans and 15 million people worldwide. The conference will feature speakers from throughout the U.S., as well as South Korea and the United Kingdom.
“Less than a year ago, we were only aware of nine genes that contributed to lupus,” said conference organizer and OMRF scientist John Harley, M.D., Ph.D. “In just that short time, we have identified another 16 genes associated with lupus. That’s extraordinary progress, and this conference has been designed to make the most of those findings and build on them for future studies.”
Conference sessions will feature presentations by leaders in the field of lupus research, including OMRF’s own Harley and other OMRF faculty members. Discussions will center on the role that genes play in causing lupus and other autoimmune diseases, industry advances and evaluation of current approaches to treatment of the disease.
Earlier this year, Harley led an international consortium of scientists that identified multiple genes related to lupus. The paper, which appeared in the journal Nature Genetics, was the culmination of a massive effort that involved nearly 7,000 research volunteers and 150 scientists and staff at 18 institutions in the U.S. and Europe.
“Our knowledge about the origins of lupus is growing by leaps and bounds right now,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “By bringing the best minds in the field together in one place to share ideas and discuss possibilities, new collaborations will be forged and new findings should result. That stands to benefit not only the research community but lupus patients, as well.”
Professionals from academia and industry are invited to attend the conference.
For more information or to register, go to www.omrf.org/2008lupus.
Lupus occurs when the body confuses pieces of itself for foreign invaders like germs. It most commonly strikes the skin, joints, blood and kidneys, although it can attack any part of the body. The disease, which can be fatal, affects as many as 2 million Americans and 15 million people worldwide.
OMRF (omrf.org) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and developing more effective treatments for human disease. Chartered in 1946, its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease.