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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of this paper: Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, is an autoimmune disease that currently has no known cause or cure (Postal et al. 2012; Okamoto et al. 2011). According to the Lupus Foundation of America, 1.5 million Americans are thought to be suffering from SLE. It is found in females ages 15-44 but may also been seen in men, teens, and children (Lupus Foundation of America 2012). It is characterized by the loss of the immune system’s ability to discern between “self” and foreign antigens. This leads to autoantibody production, abundant production of proinflammatory cytokines, stimulation of complement, and “immune complex depositions” (Okamoto et al. 2011). Multiple organs and tissues are affected due to the dysfunction of the immune system. Patients with SLE show an increased mortality rate compared to the population at large (Okamoto et al. 2011), although the five year survival rate is currently at 90% (Postal et al. 2012). The disease displays periods of advancement, remission achieved through drug therapy, and relapses. Genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors are thought to interact in the initial development of the disease, which can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Current treatment options include corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, which have resulted in some toxic effects in clinical use. To find a cure for SLE and improve patient prognoses, it is necessary to better understand the pathology behind the disease in order to formulate new drug therapies (Okamoto et al. 2011; Postal et al. 2012).

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