HSS lab research contributed to new lupus treatment

Discoveries made at New York City-based HSS laboratories in the early 2000s led to a new treatment for adults with moderate to severe systemic lupus erythematosus.

The FDA approved lupus drug Saphnelo Aug. 2.

Saphnelo targets the type I interferon receptor, which modulates the body's defense system against viral infections and helps ensure it isn't activated when no infections are present. The type I interferon receptor in individuals with lupus can be activated without a virus present, which makes the immune system attack the healthy tissue instead of an infection.

Mary Crow, MD, physician-in-chief emerita at HSS and director of its autoimmunity and inflammation research program, was among the first three groups to publish research defining the link between interferon and lupus in 2003.

"As an investigator who focuses on translational research, my goal is always to discover something that can benefit patients," she said. "It's very gratifying when your research can have a positive impact on people's lives."

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