Oct. 03, 2011

LFA Congratulates the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine Recipients for Immune System Discoveries

October 03, 2011

(WASHINGTONDC)- The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) congratulates Bruce A. Beutle, Jules A. Hoffmann, and Ralph M. Steinman for receiving the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their revolutionary discoveries of the immune system that have contributed to key advances in the understanding of and treatments for autoimmune diseases, such as lupus. 

“We would not have achieved the historic progress we have seen in lupus or other autoimmune diseases without this important work that has been honored by the Nobel Committee,” said David R. Karp, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chief Rheumatic Diseases Division, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Vice-Chair LFA, Medical-Scientific Advisory Council. “Their discoveries illuminated a fundamental process in the immune system that has paved the way for important research and further discoveries that have aided in unlocking the mysteries of the immune system, particularly in diseases like lupus.” 

Beutler and Hoffmann’s work is especially relevant to lupus, as it represents a pathway believed to be responsible for the immune response to the DNA and RNA nucleic acids that characterize this disease. Steinman discovered the dendritic cells of the immune system, which is important in regulating both immunity and tolerance. This research aided in the understanding of how the adaptive immune system responds when invaders, such as bacteria or viruses, are removed from the body.It is believed that dysfunction of the dendritic cells may be responsible for the production of auto antibodies in individuals with lupus and other autoimmune diseases.The role of dendritic cells and toll-like receptors is currently at the heart of many of the novel treatment strategies that are being actively explored for people with lupus.

“The LFA congratulates these well-deserving honorees,” said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO, Lupus Foundation of America. “They are all trailblazers in autoimmune diseases, and much of the research and discoveries funded through the LFA’s National Research Program, relates to, or is a result of their work.” 

The LFA’s National Research Program: Bringing Down the Barriers™, is dedicated to addressing research issues that have for decades obstructed basic biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, behavioral, and translational lupus research. The LFA’s approach to research is unique because it directs its funding to areas of research where gaps exist in the understanding of lupus, and to promising areas of study in which other public and private organizations have not focused their efforts. Using a three-pronged strategy, the LFA and its national network are committed to advancing the science and medicine of lupus by: directly funding research to close the gaps in lupus research; advocating for expanded investment in research from public and private sources; and leading special initiatives and forging collaborative efforts among stakeholders to address critical issues to advancing the science and medicine of lupus. For more information about the LFA’s National Research Program, visit www.lupus.org/research.

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