On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at a Congressional briefing at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, D.C., America's leading proponents for lupus research gave briefings to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on the pressing needs of the 1.5 million Americans living with lupus — the prototypical autoimmune disease.
Introducing a presentation by Dr. Mary Crow on "Strengthening the Nation's Biomedical Enterprise: Research Needed to Advance Understanding and Develop New Treatments," was Hope Hetherington, patient family advocate from Connecticut. Hetherington spoke about her family's commitment to finding a cure for lupus. Her father was a founding member of the Lupus Research Institute. She also lost her sister to this devastating disease.
Dr. Mary Crow, physician-in-chief and chair of rheumatology at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, cited her message as one of hope in the progress made in medical research over the past 15 years. In referring to strides such as the Human Genome Project, Crow said these breakthroughs have helped gain better insights into understanding lupus. Crow spoke of how continuing studies in lupus research could not only potential lead to developing new therapies but also to gain more knowledge about other infectious diseases as well as altercations in the immune system. She also stressed the need to maintain funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) so that scientists can continue their work.