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Epigenetics in Lupus
Bruce Richardson, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, was honored on June 25, 2014 as the second recipient of the Lupus Insight Prize for innovative research on lupus. Epigenetics is a field of science which examines factors that influences whether genes are turned on or off when cells are replicated, which can influence whether a person might develop specific diseases, such as lupus. These changes in gene expression may occur naturally or be the result of external factors such as age, environment, lifestyle and disease state. Dr. Richardson discovered that some lupus-causing drugs alter gene activity or expression in normal “helper” lymphocytes, converting them into autoreactive “killer” lymphocytes that attack other cells and cause lupus in mice. He also found the same changes in gene expression in lymphocytes from patients with active lupus, and that many of the environmental agents implicated in lupus, as well as diet, contribute to the changes by altering gene expression. With the Lupus Insight Prize funds, Dr. Richardson will seek to identify the genes affected by environmental agents, and determine how these environmental agents and diet cause changes in lymphocytes. In this podcast, Dr. Richardson explains his findings and the next phases of this line of research.
Date: June 25, 2014
Presenters: Bruce Richardson, MD, PhD, Gary Gilkeson, MD, Leslie Hanrahan, Wayne Barlin, J.D.
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