Lupus Research Institute Underscores Urgent Need for Research in Pediatric Lupus at International Lupus Congress

LRI National Coalition Backs Programming on Lupus in Children and Adolescents

9th International Congress on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

New York, NY — The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) National Coalition of state and local lupus groups, alarmed at the crucial need for answers to the devastating effects of lupus when diagnosed in the young, is sponsoring key programming in lupus pediatrics at the International Lupus Congress in Vancouver, Canada from June 24 to 27.

“This is a priority—breakthrough research in pediatric lupus is vital,” said LRI President Margaret G. Dowd, “as an estimated 20 percent of people with lupus are diagnosed before the age of 20—and the disease at an early age can be devastating.”

Children and adolescents with lupus are two to three times more likely than adults to develop kidney disease, central nervous system complications, and hematologic (blood) disease. Read the Lupus in Children and Adolescents Fact Sheet

“Research in pediatric lupus is also important because we are more likely to identify genetic and biologic markers in this population—because pediatric disease tends to be more severe,” added Marisa S. Klein-Gitelman, MD, head of the division of rheumatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“With children and adolescents, we have the opportunity to intervene in this chronic disease early on,” Klein-Gitelman said. “And hopefully, with greater understanding, these young patients will have better outcomes.”

Funding Key Pediatrics Programming at LUPUS 2010

The triennial lupus meeting provides a rich forum for interaction among leading researchers, clinicians, trialists, and patients. Presentations will be given by over 60 of the world’s top lupus experts.

Through its sponsorship, the LRI National Coalition is making possible numerous meeting sessions of importance and interest to people with a commitment to finding answers in pediatric lupus.

Major sessions include those on “Outcomes that matter for children and youth with SLE” in such areas as quality of life, bone health, puberty and sexual development, and a “Global Perspective” on special needs and challenges for children and adolescents with the disease.

“Meet the Professor” sessions in pediatrics will explore the unique challenges and rewards of caring for adolescents with lupus as well as such topics as neuropsychiatric lupus (“is it all in their heads?”), new aspects in diagnosis and treatment of pediatric lupus nephritis, and problems of antiphospholipid antibodies in babies and teens.