Lupus Research Program Honors Lou and Irene Papan

The scientific achievements of the Lou and Irene Papan Lupus Research Program at UCSF have significantly advanced the understanding of this complex disease, resulting in promising new treatments and strong hope for a cure. The initiative honors the late California Assemblyman who advocated very strongly on behalf of funding lupus research, and his deceased wife, who suffered from lupus for many years.

The Papan Lupus Research Program features what is perhaps the world's most advanced and comprehensive set of laboratory, genetic epidemiological and clinical investigations focused on lupus. Formally called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), lupus is a potentially lethal chronic, inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system and/or other organs of the body. It is estimated the 1.5 to 2 million Americans have SLE, which afflicts women ten times more frequently than men.

The four major components of the Papan Lupus Research Program include:

  • Community-based clinical trials for people with SLE. In this program, researchers from UCSF-affiliated medical centers and physicians from the surrounding community collaborate in developing and implementing clinical trials to determine the most effective therapies for the disease. An important feature of the clinical trials conducted through this network is that they serve as the foundation for collaborations with basic scientists studying the mechanisms of disease and the effects of treatment on these mechanisms.
  • Genetic epidemiology of SLE. The Papan Program features a major effort to determine the genetic basis for SLE. This research seeks to identify genes that predispose to SLE, genes that predict prognosis, and genes that predict response to therapy.
  • Mouse models for SLE. The Papan Program also includes novel investigations of the mechanism of autoimmunity—the process by which the body's immune system goes awry and attacks the body's healthy cells and tissues—in mouse models for SLE. These investigations currently focus on mechanisms of central nervous system disease as well as the role of naturally-occurring regulatory T cells.
  • New investigations in SLE: The Papan Program periodically solicits grant applications from investigators at UCSF-affiliated sites who propose to study lupus. Emphasis is placed on generating a diverse portfolio of projects involving pediatric as well as adult populations, and laboratory-based science as well as clinical research.
  • Thanks to the Lou and Irene Papan Lupus Research Program, UCSF is truly an international center of excellence in this field of medical investigations. In recent years, important progress has been made in understanding and treating lupus, and strong momentum is almost certain to lead to major breakthroughs soon.



The Papan Lupus Research Program features what is perhaps the world's most advanced and comprehensive set of laboratory, genetic epidemiological and clinical investigations in the field.

  
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