NIH plan to expedite lupus treatments and cures

Sandra C. Raymond

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently released a new report, the Action Plan for Lupus Research to assess opportunities for increasing scientific understanding of lupus, which will ultimately lead to safer and more effective treatments and, eventually, curative strategies. The report reflects the current need and gap in lupus research for helping to improve upon a basic understanding of the disease and to identify targets for advancing lupus drug development.

Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with and a challenge to treat. In fact, there is only one drug designed specifically to treat lupus and most other medications used to treat lupus are prescribed off-label and often have significant side effects.

Increased support for lupus research is vital for improving the quality of life for all people affected by the disease. In 2014, we spearheaded efforts with the Congressional Lupus Caucus to request an update to a 2007 NIH lupus report. After an 18-month process, the result is this new Action Plan for Lupus Research.

Increased federal funding for the NIH is needed to meet the goals identified in this report. Join us in urging Congress to increase federal funding for the NIH. More information on the Lupus Foundation of America can be found at www.lupus.org

Sandra C. Raymond is the president & CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America.

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