2010: Moving Toward a New Era of Hope and Optimism in Lupus Research, Treatment and Awareness
Lupus Foundation of America Highlights the Year’s Top Ten Achievements
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Events of 2010 represented the beginning of the long anticipated transition to a new era in which the 1.5 million Americans and the more than five million individuals worldwide living with the autoimmune disease lupus can look forward to an improved quality of life. Potential new treatments for lupus passed several milestones on the road toward approval, public and private investment in lupus research continued to grow, awareness of lupus received a boost from celebrity involvement, and several new LFA initiatives fueled efforts to improve future lupus clinical trials. The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has compiled a list of the 2010 Top Ten Achievements in Lupus, which is available on the LFA website.
One of the most anticipated achievements of 2010 was the vote by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee to recommend approval of the investigational medicine, BenlystaÃ‚®, for the treatment of systemic lupus. Top achievements this past year also included continued growth of public and private funding for lupus. For example, the Department of Defense (DoD) Medical Research Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided nearly $7 million in additional research support. Additional pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies announced positive clinical trial data, initiated studies on new compounds, or acquired new technologies to develop potential treatments for lupus.
A growing list of celebrities helped shine a spotlight on lupus by announcing their support or speaking publicly about the disease. In an article in the September issue of Vanity Fair magazine, entertainer Lady Gaga listed the LFA as one of her ‘two favorite’ charities. Previously, she announced on CNN’s Larry King Live that she had undergone testing for lupus, greatly swelling public interest in the disease. Musician and philanthropist Julian Lennon and singer James Scott Cook generated thousands of dollars for lupus research through sales of their song, “LUCY.” Long-time LFA supporters Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were on hand for the inaugural LFA Butterfly Gala in New York City to honor their aunt, Karen B. Evans, who serves as the executive director of their family foundation and is the former chair of LFA’s National Board of Directors. Eduardo Xol, a landscape designer for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, served as Chair of LFA’s observance of Lupus Awareness Month held annually in May.
Also in 2010, the LFA launched an online portal to train clinical investigators on instruments used to measure lupus disease activity (LFA POINT(TM)), enhanced its web-based Center for Clinical Trials Education(TM) to better inform people about lupus clinical trials, and established the Lupus Research Registry(TM) to allow individuals to indicate their interest in participating in future lupus clinical studies. The LFA also began the Collective Data Analysis Initiative (CDAI), the first project of its kind in lupus to mine and analyze data from previously failed trials of potential new lupus treatments in order to determine the impact of background therapies on trial outcomes and improve future trial design. These initiatives are part of the LFA’s National Research Program: Bringing Down the Barriers(TM), which seeks to advance the science and medicine of lupus.
These 2010 achievements were the result of combined efforts of many people. Through the ongoing support of the lupus community, other stakeholders and the public, the LFA will continue its efforts in 2011 to find the causes of and cure for lupus while providing support, services and hope to all people affected by lupus – From Care to Cure(TM).
About the Lupus Foundation of America
The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is the foremost national nonprofit organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. The LFA and its national network of chapters, support groups, and local representatives conduct programs of research, education, and advocacy.
Lupus is an unpredictable and potentially fatal autoimmune disease in which the immune system is out of balance, causing inflammation and tissue damage to any organ system in the body. The health effects of lupus include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and organ failure. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus. For more information, visit www.lupus.org.
SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America