Monday, 7 August 2017

Monash lupus research receives generous donation

Mrs Beryl Swaminathan
A generous donation from family and friends of a former Monash Health lupus patient will fund vital research at Monash University.

A former patient of Professor Eric Morand and Dr Alberta Hoi, Beryl Swaminathan sadly passed away on May 15 this year.  Beryl had been a lupus patient at Monash Medical Centre for more than 25 years.  She is survived by her husband, Balu, and children Ian and Kim.

Last week Beryl's family and friends made a generous donation of $2437, which will directly fund research aiming to bring treat-to-target options for lupus a step closer.

Systematic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, is a chronic multi-organ autoimmune disease with a broad spectrum of symptoms. Currently there are no effective targeted treatments for lupus, and most patients are treated with long-term steroids and therapies to suppress the immune system.  While these treatments can manage disease symptoms, they don’t prevent morbidity and loss of life expectancy and have significant and often devastating side-effects.

“Treat-to-Target” (T2T) is a concept used to design the best treatment options for a number of debilitating diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, vascular medicine and diabetes.  An international initiative that has resulted in significant improvements in patient outcomes in many areas of medicine, T2T defines specific treatment targets to measure disease severity.

The T2T philosophy requires information about disease activity. But how can you hit your target if the target hasn’t been defined?   Until now, lupus has had no defined treatment outcome states, clear treatment guidelines or T2T approaches.

Determination of a measure of low disease activity for lupus is a major research priority of the Rheumatology Research Group, Monash University.

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