Pathways of Inflammation in Lupus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that predominantly affects young women. While SLE can affect just about any organ system, the most severely affected is the kidney, often resulting in renal failure. In spite of the ever-growing knowledge about how the disease begins and progresses, treatment regimens for SLE contain potent, nonspecific immunosuppressive medications with a high incidence of side effects. “Non-specific” means that the entire immune system is suppressed, increasing the patient’s susceptibility to outside infections.
Dr. Bao’s study is designed to test a therapy of blocking specific cell receptors in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as the kidney disease caused by lupus. Her study will also expand knowledge of the roles of innate and adaptive immunity and apoptosis (cell death) in the disease progression of SLE. Her study will encompass both genetic and pharmacological approaches to treat lupus.