Lupus may have a genetic cause, a discovery that could lead to new treatments

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Scientists sequenced the DNA of a 7-year-old girl with severe lupus, which suggests mutations to the gene TLR7 may cause the autoimmune condition



Health



27 April 2022

A light micrograph of plaques in someone with lupus

A light micrograph of skin plaques on someone with lupus

BIOPHOTO ASSOCIATES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The DNA of a girl with a severe form of lupus may have helped uncover a genetic cause for the autoimmune condition.

Lupus, which affects about 5 million people worldwide, occurs when an overactive immune system mistakenly attacks the body, triggering inflammation that can cause joint pain, rashes and extreme fatigue.

The underlying cause of lupus is somewhat of a mystery, making it difficult to develop treatments. “Current treatments are not curative and often they can be toxic,” says Grant …

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