OMRF launches world’s first lupus prevention study

Published: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 Source: Oklahoma's Nursing Times

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has started the first-ever lupus prevention study.

The clinical trial, known as the SMILE trial, will seek to identify individuals at high risk for developing lupus and treat them with an immune-modifying medication before they ever transition into the disease. The goal is to delay the onset of lupus, lessen its symptoms and potentially prevent it altogether.

Lupus is caused when the immune system becomes unbalanced, leading to the development of antibodies and chronic inflammation that damage the body’s organs and tissues. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, an estimated 1.5 million people in the U.S. are living with lupus.

The disease also disproportionately affects healthy relatives of lupus patients.

For this reason, OMRF Vice President of Clinical Affairs Judith James, M.D., Ph.D., and a team of researchers launched a project where they looked at relatives of patients over an eight-year period to see if they could discover a way to identify those at high risk before the disease ever begins.

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