What is Lupus?

Systemic lupus erythematosus, often abbreviated to SLE or lupus, is a systemic autoimmune disease (or autoimmune connective tissue disease) that can affect any part of the body. As occurs in other autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body's cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. It is a Type III hypersensitivity reaction caused by antibody-immune complex formation.

SLE most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness (called flares) alternating with remissions. The disease occurs nine times more often in women than in men, especially in women in child-bearing years ages 15 to 35, and is also more common in those of non-European descent.

SLE is treatable using immunosuppression, mainly with cyclophosphamide, corticosteroids and other immunosuppressants; there is currently no cure. SLE can be fatal, although with recent medical advances, fatalities are becoming increasingly rare. Survival for people with SLE in the United States, Canada, and Europe has risen to approximately 95% at five years, 90% at 10 years, and 78% at 20 years, and now approaches that of matched controls without Lupus. Source: Wikipedia


Lupus research trends

What are the common areas of lupus research?

  • Causes
  • Genetics, mapping the genetic link
  • Central nervous system involvement
  • Treatment


FORWARD and Lupus research

What are your important concerns about living with a rheumatic disease like Lupus? Is your treatment effective? We believe that rheumatic disease research needs the personal perspective of people who have rheumatic diseases.

FORWARD conducts patient-reported research. All of our data comes directly from people with Lupus, which gives us the ability to see how people live with Lupus in the real world. We focus on treatment safety, costs and outcomes (how well treatments work).

Anyone with Lupus (or any rheumatic disease) is welcome to participate and lend a hand in improving treatment and care. Learn more about participating.