Forum for Discovery 2012

Pivotal Findings on Autoimmunity Shared at Lupus Research Institute “Forum for Discovery” — Premier U.S. Lupus Conference

36 New Leads in Lupus Research Made Possible by the LRI

The 12th annual Lupus Research Institute (LRI) Scientific Conference, “Forum for Discovery” outdid all 11 before, with 60+ of the nations’ leaders in lupus research previewing novel work of unprecedented breakthrough potential – innovative discoveries that would not have been possible without the LRI.Investigators presented new science funded by the LRI on a broad range of topics including genetic factors that predispose certain individuals to lupus, how the lupus immune system turns against the body, and novel approaches to treatment.

These recent grantees join a distinguished body of nearly 150 lupus researchers supported by the LRI who are leading scientific innovation and discovery in lupus and autoimmunity today

LRI Funded Lupus Research with Broad Application

LRI investigators shared breakthrough results that have implications not only in lupus but for a wide range of autoimmune diseases.


Dr. Carla Rothlin at Yale University reported that blood protein S known to be low in lupus patients helps turn off inflammation.

She is developing experimental drugs that harness this protein to treat lupus and other autoimmune diseases.


New insight into how the brain talks to the immune system to suppress inflammation in lupus was shared by Dr. Jane Salmonat Hospital for Special Surgery.

Dr. Salmon’s discovery may lead to a whole new approach to lupus treatment.


Dr. Anne Davidson, at The Feinstein Institute, is using a new approach to find out why an existing rheumatoid arthritis drug — anti-TNF — can be protective in lupus kidney disease but also induces potentially harmful autoantibodies.

Her findings suggest it may be possible to develop improved anti-TNF drugs that eliminate negative effects.


The “hot” new topic in lupus, epigenetics, was the focus of a presentation by Dr. Amr Sawalha at University of Michigan.Epigenetics tells us how the environment may switch on a gene to trigger lupus; and importantly, how this change can also be passed on to the next generation.

Dr. Sawalha’s work brings a long-sought missing piece to the puzzle of how lupus is inherited.

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The excitement of discovery was tangible throughout the Forum, sparked by exchanges of the newest thinking among leaders focused on solving the complexities of lupus and autoimmune disease.