Relatively little is known about Lupus

Doctors have today launched an appeal for volunteers to take part in a new study into the widespread, yet largely unknown, autoimmune disease, SLE or Lupus.

Lupus is a potentially fatal disease which causes the body's defence system to attack itself. Although Lupus is a global problem more common than Leukaemia and Multiple Sclerosis - in the UK alone there are up to 50 000 sufferers - relatively little is known about it.

What doctors do know is that it is nine times more likely to be found in women, and of that four times more likely in women from an Afro-Caribbean or Asian background. It also has a genetic link and so it can often run in the family.

The Wellcome Trust research fellow, Dr Tim Vyse, who leads a team of researchers at Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College, has been investigating Lupus for ten years and is looking for volunteers with SLE to assist with the study into the genetic factors that contribute to Lupus.

Dr Vyse said: "Lupus really is the great unknown. It is widespread throughout the UK, but the level of recognition and understanding of it is tiny. It's a debilitating and incurable disease, which can leave sufferers in great pain for many months at a time.

"It's vital that we raise awareness of Lupus, both with the public, but also with GPs, and are able to continue the research to help identify those most at risk and how we can best control it."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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