November 5, 2001
Turner Foundation gives $1M to study lupus disorder
By Holly Korschun
Through a $1 million gift from the Turner Found-ation, researchers in
the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology and Immunology will work to uncover
new knowledge about lupus, a poorly understood autoimmune disorder, and
investigate how it affects children and teens.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder.
The organ systems most often involved in lupus are the skin, kidneys,
blood, joints and nervous system. Symptoms can range from mild to severe;
the disease can have serious complications and can be fatal in some cases.
The cause of lupus is unknown.
Lupus affects primarily teenage and adult women worldwide. It is more
prevalent and often more severe in African-American females than white
females. There are 4050 cases per 100,000 African-Americans, as
compared to 1520 per 100,000 whites. An estimated 35,000 Georgians
suffer from lupus.
Lupus is a serious and sometimes deadly challenge affecting young
people and their families, said Ted Turner. The Turner Foundation
is pleased to help combat this terrible disease by making a contribution
to research directed at a better understanding of the cause and treatment
of this disease in children and teens.
The Turner Foundation funding, to be given over a five-year period, will
support the establishment of a concerted research effort into lupus by
the pediatric rheumatology and immunology division, including the recruitment
of an outstanding research scientist in the field. Both the causes of
lupus and new treatments will be explored.
Devn Cornish, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics in the School
of Medicine, noted that this gift represents a landmark in the development
of lupus and basic rheumatologic research at Emory.
These funds will both strengthen the research activities of our
existing faculty and enable the recruitment of key researchers in this
field, Cornish said. We are truly grateful to Mr. Turner and
the foundation for their foresight and generosity.
Larry Vogler, director of pediatric rheumatology and immunology, will
head the program. I am extremely grateful to be given this opportunity
by the Turner Foundation to contribute through research to better treatments
and an ultimate cure for lupus, Vogler said.
There are currently only a limited number of centers in the United States conducting research in rheumatic diseases as they affect children and teens. The Division of Pediatric Rheumatology and Immunology is a section within the Department of Pediatrics. The division is dedicated to the care of children and adolescents with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, and to research into causes and treatments for these conditions.