OKLAHOMA CITY -- Scientists at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) have made a major breakthrough involving lupus.
During the largest genetic experiment ever done involving lupus, OMRF researchers discovered one of the genes that causes the disease. It's called CD44.
With lupus, the body's immune system mistakes its own tissue for foreign invaders and attacks what it's trying to protect. Lupus can affect any part of the body, but commonly targets skin, joints, blood and kidneys.
"It certainly gives us hope that we can now have something very specific to target," said Dr. Kathy Moser. "And we know that it's part of the cause of lupus, and will hopefully give us good information on how to develop new treatments."
Researchers said the gene may also play a role in heart disease and certain types of cancer.