Researchers discover potential cause of lupus

Mar 10, 2011

Researchers have made a major genetic discovery that may potentially be linked to the cause of lupus.

A recent scientific study has achieved a major breakthrough by potentially identifying the cause of Lupus, according to a recent study in the journal PLoS One.

Lupus, a disorder affecting the immune system and causing it to attack normal, healthy tissues, may be caused by a dysregulated pattern of micro RNAs, which are cells usually charged with controlling gene expression, according to researchers from the college of veterinary medicine at Virginia Tech. Furthermore, this dysregulation only appeared in the test mice after they began to manifest symptoms of Lupus.

Researchers are excited about the potential impact of this discovery. "In the short term, we want to use our better understanding of the disease to develop a tool in the form of molecular markers for early, reliable diagnosis," lead researcher S. Ansar Ahmed said.

Though 80 to 90 percent of those infected with lupus can expect to live out a normal life expectancy, the most common causes of death associated with the disease are kidney failure and infection, according to the Lupus Foundation. Even though the chance of death is relatively small, those with the disease may be denied life insurance coverage or be charged higher premiums. Some experts recommend finding an insurer familiar with the disease or applying while lupus is in remission in order to save money.  

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