23andMe, Pfizer Collaborate to Study Lupus
Coinciding with Lupus Awareness Month, 23andMe is teaming up with Pfizer to study the disease in an effort to better understand its underlying genetics. The companies aim to enroll 5,000 individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus by mid-2016.
The ability to personalize treatments for lupus patients is limited due in large part to an incomplete understanding of the disease, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki says. The study of human genetics alongside environmental and health history factors will help establish better treatment options for lupus patients, she added.
23andMe will pool genetic information, survey questions and data from participants’ medical records into the study. The data will be used in the analysis of surveys from participants over the course of one year.
The study aims to identify underlying genetic causes of lupus, specifically those associated with the onset, progression, severity and response to treatments. The cause of the disease is not known, but research says it could be linked to genetic, hormonal and environmental factors.
About 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from the disease, where the immune system attacks the normal, healthy body tissue. — Kellen Owings