West Coast Division of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation . Member of the Lupus Research Institute National Coalition . Winter 2009
Breakthrough In Understanding Basic Error of Lupus Immune System
California Researcher Publishes Discovery in Top Scientific Journal, Nature
Just one year after winning a Novel Research Grant from the
Lupus Research Institute—Lupus LA’s research partner—
University of California at Berkeley scientist Gregory Barton,
PhD, has documented a key discovery in lupus immunology
that has the potential to lead to new therapies.
With his 2007 grant, Dr. Barton has discovered a new checkpoint that prevents the immune system from making a basic
error and attacking its own tissues.
“Our findings are exciting because they reveal an entirely new
pathway that controls the balance between immunity and
autoimmunity,” Dr. Barton said. “Of course it’s early, but we
can’t help but be excited about the therapeutic potential of this
discovery for treating diseases like lupus.”
Dr. Barton is one of 85 researchers who have won 3-year,
$300,000 Novel Research grants from the Lupus Research
Institute (LRI) since it was founded in 2000. The LRI is the
nation’s only organization to solely fund bold, novel investigations in lupus.
Normal immune systems are smart about distinguishing those
blueprints inside each of our cells—our DNA and RNA—from
that of foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria.
But in lupus, the immune system makes a
basic error and attacks
its own DNA and RNA.
over the past few years
has indicated that
proteins called TollLike Receptors (TLRs—
specifically, TLR7 and
TLR9] may be to blame for these cases of misidentification and
In the December 2008 Nature article Dr. Barton shows that
specialized proteins called “proteases” are needed to control
the activity of TLR7s and TLR9s.
“In a very brief period of time,” said LRI President Margaret
Dowd, “Dr. Barton took an LRI Novel Research Grant and was
able to make a critical new insight that opens up the potential
for preventing a key component of the lupus immune system’s
misdirected attack on DNA and RNA. It’s just the kind of pioneering and innovative research that is moving very rapidly to
making a significant difference in the lives of people with this
Men Have Lupus, Too
And face unique physical and emotional challenges...
You’ve probably heard the numbers—nine out of 10 people
with lupus are female. But if you’re a man who has been
diagnosed with lupus, the numbers don’t really matter. A
man’s lupus is just as difficult to live with as a woman’s.
Save Thursday, May 28, 2009 for the 2nd annual
ll at the
Wil hi Hotel.
Our premiere benefit will honor Nancy Utley, COO of
Fox Searchlight Films, the studio behind
Oscar® favorites Slumdog Millionaire
e and The
Wrestlerr. Stay tuned to LupusLA.org for more.
Men with lupus may struggle with the idea that they have
a “woman’s disease.” But even though many more women
than men develop lupus, a lupus diagnosis does not mean
one is less of a man.
What it does mean is that valuable lupus information for
men may be harder to find.
Continued from pg. 1
What is lupus like for most men?
While no two cases of lupus are alike, most of the time the
disease develops—and is treated—in the same way in men
and women. In people under age 18 and over age 50, in fact,
as many men as women have lupus.
After first being diagnosed, a man with lupus will likely
notice some changes in his physical abilities and the way
he looks. Pain and fatigue from lupus can cause frustrating
limitations—and some men may have to cut back on heavy
lifting and physically intensive work. It can be difficult for
men to deal with side effects from medicines for lupus, such
as hair loss and weight gain.
Depression, exhaustion, and pain from lupus also can get in
the way of sexual relations, though the disease will not likely
affect the ability to father children. Men typically also have
to deal with living up to the expectations of being a physically strong and capable provider. Because lupus can cause
such exhaustion and other physical problems—many of
which can’t always be seen by others—people may unfairly
call men with lupus weak or lazy. Not being able to work
full-time because of illness can be especially hard.
There are many men in southern California and around the
country dealing with these difficult lupus-related issues.
Men, you are not alone.
You may benefit from talking to a counselor or joining a
Lupus LA support group. Lupus LA is here for you, to talk
about what you are going through and to link you to the most
up-to-date expert information.
Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon Raises Over $300,000 for Lupus Research
Kris Jenner of E!’s Keeping up with the Kardashians hosted our 6th annual Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon at the Beverly
Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, which drew countless celebs and generous supporters to raise funds for social services and
lupus research across southern California and around the country.
Long-time Lupus LA patrons Carrie Brillstein and Dancing with the Stars’ Toni Braxton served as honorary chairs, and Dorothy Ellisa and Kelly Stone were co-chairs for this festive event known for its incomparable auction of celebrity and designer
handbags. Motivational speaker, writer, and lecturer La-Doris McClaney, PhD, received our 2008 Woman of Achievement
Award. Upon learning that a close friend was battling lupus, Dr. McClaney generously gave from her family’s charitable funds
and also lent her name and efforts to the fight against the disease.
In the spirit of encouraging charitable shopping, the luncheon was preceded by its sister event, Hollywood Bag Ladies Day on
Rodeo Drive, which raised additional funds from sales at participating designer stores in Beverly Hills.
Top row (L to R): Kris Jenner & Karina Smirnoff; Towanda Braxton-Carter & Toni Braxton; Mischa Barton; Shantel VanSantens & Lindsey
Dupuis. Bottom row (L to R): Susie Henderson & Laurie Henderson; Danielle Nicolet & Ali Hillis; Carrie Brillstein & Jill Grey; Daisy Fuentes.
New Spanish-Language Lupus Support Group!
And we welcome two new leaders to our Cedars-Sinai support group
Lupus LA is joining forces with an existing group to offer its Spanishspeaking members across southern California a place to find support
and gain advice from others with lupus. Join us the last Thursday (último
jueves) of every month (cada mes) from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Maywood Recreation Center, 4801 East 58th Street in Maywood. RSVP “sí” at
And welcome Ariel Siegel (below, lower right), who joins Gwenn Sayer
(below, top right) in leading our regular (English-language) support group
at Cedars-Sinai. This group—free and open to all—meets the second
Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s
Thalians Mental Health Center Auditorium. A heart-felt thanks to outgoing
leaders Barbara Heitz and Brian Ann Zoccola (below with Daniel Wallace,
MD, and Adam Selkowitz).
“I just wanted to thank Lupus LA for
opening the door to our Spanishspeaking support group. I know that
everyone in our group is so excited
that this group will continue. We
have not spent so much time with
each other, but in the few hours that
we have, we’ve become like a family and this is great news to a great
new beginning in our lives knowing that we are not left alone and
that together we can gain and give
strength to each other and make our
world better and brighter. Thank you
Lupus LA for the support. May we
together build new bonds as we join
together as one.”
- Alma Calleros, Lupus Patient
Meet Our Executive Council: Dorothy Ellis
Dorothy Ellis was diagnosed with lupus in 1990 by Daniel Wallace, MD, and has been with
Lupus LA since its beginnings in 2000. In 2004, she received Lupus LA’s “Spirit of Hope
Award” for her dedication to finding a cure for lupus and helping others cope with the
Dorothy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Arkansas and
her Masters in Public Relations and Broadcast Communications from San Francisco State
University. She has since started a scholarship fund for underserved students to attend the
University of Central Arkansas.
In 1989 she established an acute hemodialysis service and presently holds the position of
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive of Nursing for BAC California, LLC. She is also
an educational consultant with DEllis Consultants.
“I enjoy being a provider of service to others, especially teaching, volunteering, and
caring for those in need. These are rewarding experiences for me.”
Dorothy Ellis, right, with friend and
Lupus LA’s Woman of Achievement
Award recipient La-Doris McClaney,
PhD, at the 2008 Hollywood Bag Ladies
Allergan Foundation Supports Lupus LA
Allergan Chairman of the Board and CEO David E.I. Pyott (far left]
presents Lupus LA Chairman Adam Selkowitz (near left] with a grant for
lupus education and outreach to underserved communities. The Allergan
Foundation is among the largest philanthropic organizations in Orange
County, California. We are grateful for their support!
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Check Out the LRI’s New Look
Life Without Lupus Bracelet
This beautiful new double wrap leather bracelet
is available only from Lupus LA. It’s yours when
you make a $100 donation at LupusLA.org or
with the envelope inside.
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