Lupus is difficult to diagnose and treat, but scientists are working to learn more about its genetic causes and to develop better treatments.
The autoimmune disease affects between 300,000 and 1.5 million people in the United States, and as many as 24,000 are diagnosed with lupus each year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“With treatment, the disease may quiet down, but it also may relapse eventually. Although it may be controlled with medications, once you get it, you will always have it,” Dr. Sarah Yim, a rheumatologist at the FDA, said in an agency news release.
“Technologies have been developed in recent years that can make our medicines more targeted, to address the specific molecule or molecules in the immune system that may be causing the problem,” Yim added.