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Research Goal: Catch the Interferons that Cause Lupus, One Cell at a Time

Mark Walter, Ph.D., professor of microbiology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, is seeking a way to detect — at the level of individual immune cells — exactly which interferons and which cells provoke the disease. This ability would help develop blood tests to diagnose the disease and also measure the effectiveness of lupus treatments. If Walter is able to finger the prime interferon culprits, it will help guide the design of more precise interferon inhibitors to treat lupus, a disease that affects at least 1.5 million Americans.

This level of detection requires a difficult leap in cutting-edge technology. Walter’s research is one of 11 high-risk, high-payoff Novel Research Grants recently awarded by the Lupus Research Institute to push the boundaries of discovery and advance innovative new therapies.

To read this full story from the University of Alabama, please click here.


SC CTSI-Supported Researchers Develop First Fully-Implantable Micropacemaker Designed for Fetal Use

A team of investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California have developed the first fully implantable micropacemaker designed for use in a fetus with complete heart block. The team has done preclinical testing and optimization as reported in a recent issue of the journal Heart Rhythm, and the micropacemaker has been designated a Humanitarian Use Device by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The investigators anticipate the first human use of the device in the near future. “Up until now, the pacemaker devices that have been used in an attempt to treat this condition in a fetus were designed for adults,” said Yaniv Bar-Cohen, MD, pediatric cardiologist at CHLA and lead author on the paper. “We have lacked an effective treatment option for fetuses.” 

This article is written by Children's Hospital Los Angeles. For more information, please click here for details on this story.


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