June 2010

LRI Underscores Urgent Need for Pediatric Research at International Lupus Congress

LRI National Coalition Backs Congress Programming on Lupus in Children and Adolescents

The LRI National Coalition of state and local lupus groups, alarmed at the crucial need for answers to the devastating effects of lupus when diagnosed in the young, is sponsoring key programming in lupus pediatrics at the Vancouver Congress.

Much of the pediatrics-focused programming takes place today and Saturday.

“This is a priority—breakthrough research in pediatric lupus is vital,” said LRI President Margaret G. Dowd, “as an estimated 20 percent of people with lupus are diagnosed before the age of 20—and the disease at an early age can be devastating.”

Children and adolescents with lupus are two to three times more likely than adults to develop kidney disease, central nervous system complications, and hematologic (blood) disease.

“Research in pediatric lupus is also important because we are more likely to identify genetic and biologic markers in this population—because pediatric disease tends to be more severe,” added Marisa S. Klein-Gitelman, MD, head of the division of rheumatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“With children and adolescents, we have the opportunity to intervene in this chronic disease early on,” Klein-Gitelman said. “And hopefully, with greater understanding, these young patients will have better outcomes.”

Key Pediatrics Programming

The triennial lupus meeting provides a rich forum for interaction among leading researchers, clinicians, trialists, and patients.  Presentations are being given by over 60 of the world’s top lupus experts.

Through its sponsorship, the LRI National Coalition is making possible numerous meeting sessions of importance and interest to people with a commitment to finding answers in pediatric lupus.

Major sessions on pediatrics today and tomorrow include “Outcomes that matter for children and youth with SLE” in such areas as quality of life, bone health, puberty and sexual development, and a “Global Perspective” on special needs and challenges for children and adolescents with the disease.

“Meet the Professor” sessions in pediatrics are exploring the unique challenges and rewards of caring for adolescents with lupus as well as such topics as neuropsychiatric lupus (“is it all in their heads?”), new aspects in diagnosis and treatment of pediatric lupus nephritis, and problems of antiphospholipid antibodies in babies and teens.

More about lupus in children and adolescents is available here.

Tell us what you think about the importance of research in lupus pediatrics at Facebook.com/LupusResearch or Twitter.com/LupusResearch.  




About the LRI
The nation’s only nonprofit singularly dedicated to novel research in lupus, we champion innovation and scientific risk-taking in the hunt for solutions to this complex and dangerous autoimmune disease.

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