Researchers know that genetics, as well as environmental and hormonal influences, play a role in the development of lupus, but we still have a lot to learn about this as-yet incurable autoimmune disease.
This spring, 23andMe and Pfizer launched a study into the genetics of lupus. Working in collaboration with the Lupus Research Institute, researchers hope to learn more about the disease and make findings that might lead to new treatments.
In July, 23andMe hosted a live Google Hangout on Air with Amy Caron, who works at the Lupus Research Institute, and Joyce Tung, Ph.D., 23andMe’s director of research. 23andMe’s Helen McCurdy moderated the live online broadcast, which included questions from those participating in the study and others who simply wanted to learn more about the research, or had general questions about lupus itself.
You can watch a replay of the video here: http://23me.co/EDSwgf.
We’ve already had some positive feedback from study participants, including one from Gia Cruz, during the online broadcast, who said she appreciated the work 23andMe is doing.
“I participated in the study and it was a real eye opener,” Gia said.
Along with those encouraging comments, we heard from others who simply wanted to learn more about the basics of this hard to diagnose autoimmune disease and our study. While Amy discussed some of the general details about the disease, Joyce covered some of the details of the research itself. One of the aspects of Lupus that is not yet fully understood is why Latinos, African Americans and Native Americans are at higher odds of getting the condition. Joyce pointed out that this makes ensuring that the participants in the study are as diverse as possible. During the discussion there were several questions from individuals interested in participating. So far more than 1,400 people have already signed up.
Ultimately the goal is to enroll 5,000 participants in the study. While the details on eligibility can be found here, the most important criteria is that participants must have a definitive lupus diagnosis. They also must be willing to consent to have their physician share their medical records with researchers. In addition, they must also be willing to submit a saliva sample for DNA testing, and complete a series of short surveys over 12 month period.
Learn more about 23andMe’s lupus community here: www.23andMe.com/lupus. If you have further questions, post them here and we’ll answer as many as we can.