“The congressional charge for ORWH to establish the Office of Autoimmune Disease Research is a cross-cutting effort,” Dr. Clayton notes. “ORWH is enthusiastic about the opportunity to lead the next chapter of autoimmune disease research at NIH, leveraging our ORWH perspective to complement, synergize with, and catalyze NIH Institute, Center, and Office (ICO) investments through integrative research approaches to accelerate progress in support of patients.”Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks healthy cells, tissues, and organs. These diseases can be acute or chronic and are often disabling, and they can affect specific organs or multiple organ systems. Many autoimmune diseases are understudied and have limited treatment options, and some have unknown causes or origins. Approximately 8% of the U.S. population is living with an autoimmune disease, and women constitute nearly 80% of this group. The disproportionate burden of autoimmune disease borne by women underscores the importance of understanding the influences of sex and gender in health and disease, a critical part of ORWH’s mission.
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