Advertisement
HEALTHLINE NEWS

Florida Researchers Inundated by People Seeking Cure for Lupus

Hundreds of lupus patients have contacted the University of Florida after a researcher spoke about their preliminary study results at a conference in Cuba.

Researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville are overwhelmed by the hundreds of emails they have received from people after results of their study garnered social media attention.

Laurence Morel, Ph.D., director of the university’s experimental pathology department and co-author of the study, spoke about the research the team has been doing on mice at a conference held in Cuba in mid-June.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Morel said it appears somebody from the conference posted something on a Facebook page that made the research findings more promising than they really are at the moment.

Since then, Morel has received more than 300 emails, many written in Spanish or Portuguese, asking about a cure or how lupus patients can participate in the human treatment trials.

Some lupus patients have even called Morel, pleading for more information. She had to tell them the research is preliminary and might some day benefit them, but an actual treatment is still years off.

Advertisement
I felt horrible for them. There were a lot of terrible stories.
Laurence Morel, Ph.D., University of Florida

“I felt horrible for them,” said Morel. “There were a lot of terrible stories.”

Doug Bennett, a science writer at the Florida university, has been tasked with responding to the emails sent to Morel.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Bennett said replies are being sent out in English, Spanish, and Portuguese explaining the situation.

“It’s a very common disease,” said Bennett. “Any time there is talk about a cure for something like this, there is a lot of response.”

Read More: World Cup Soccer Player Wants to Help Conquer Lupus »

Research in Mice Is Promising

Morel’s team published the initial findings on their research in February.

It was reported in an article on Healthline as well as in other publications.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Lupus

The scientists announced that by using a combination of two drugs they were able to reverse lupus in mice.

Since then, the Florida researchers have continued their studies using mice as well as human immune cells in an in vitro environment.

The Healthline article itself was visited almost 16,000 times between June 20 and July 5, four months after its February 11 publication.

Advertisement

That story now has more than 200 comments, many written in Spanish or Portuguese. Some people are even leaving email addresses and phone numbers. A large number appear to be from Brazil.

Similar to the requests Morel has been getting, many of the story’s commenters are asking how they can become involved in human trials.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Morel’s team is applying for grants to conduct human studies. However, the experiments would take four or five years and would require about $1 million to complete.

University officials are hoping they can find someone to fund the research.

“That would be huge,” said Bennett. “That would be amazing.”

Advertisement

Get the Facts: How Lupus Affects the Body »

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement