Lupus Canada and the Lupus Foundation of America have joined together to award the 2020 Lupus Canada Catalyst Award. This grant is intended to fund one year of research that will better the lives of those with lupus.
Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue. Lupus causes inflammation, pain, and in severe cases, tissue damage to the joints, kidney, skin, heart, lungs, and brain. People who have lupus can experience flare-ups, in which the symptoms are at their worst, and periods of remission, where they have little to no pain. Every case is different, and people experience various levels of severity. Lupus also disproportionately affects females and people of African American, Asian, and American Indian descent. It is also an invisible illness, meaning that there are no external factors that are noticeable to others. Because of this, many people go without a diagnosis. In fact, an average of six years passes between the onset of symptoms and the medical diagnosis for lupus, according to The Lupus Foundation of America. While there is no cure for lupus, treatment does exist. It is a lifelong process, and it can help to reduce flare-ups and pain.
About the Grant Recipients
Two medical professionals were awarded the grant: Dr. Megan Barber and Dr. Leslie Skeith, both from the University of Calgary. They will be studying pregnancy and lupus, as pregnancy complications are more common in those with lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome.
Through the use of a new testing method to study complement system activation and platelet imaging, the two recipients will evaluate the link between platelets and the complement system in pregnant women with lupus. This research will allow for doctors to better predict which women will experience complications, as well as create better therapies for mothers and their children.
Read more about their research here.