Autoimmune Disease...

…faces critical obstacles in diagnosis

•Symptoms cross many specialties and can affect all body organs.

•Medical education provides minimal learning about autoimmune disease.

•Specialists are generally unaware of interrelationships among the different autoimmune diseases or advances in treatment outside their own specialty area.

•Initial symptoms are often intermittent and unspecific until the disease becomes acute.

•Research is generally disease-specific and limited in scope. More information-sharing and crossover among research projects on different autoimmune diseases is needed.

…is a major health problem

•A close genetic relationship exists among autoimmune disease, explaining clustering in individuals and families as well as a common pathway of disease.

•Commonly used immunosuppressant treatments lead to devastating long-term side effects.

•Understanding how to modulate immune system activity will benefit transplant recipients, cancer patients, AIDS patients and infectious disease patients.

…are statistically comparable to other disease groups

•The NIH Autoimmune Diseases Research Plan states; “Research discoveries of the last decade have made autoimmune research one of the most promising areas of new discovery.”

•According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, autoimmune disease and disorders ranked #1 in a top ten list of most popular health topics requested by callers to the National Women’s Health Information Center.