Patients pin hopes on lupus clinical study

Kaamilah Gilyard takes more than 20 pills a day to help with the pain. She was diagnosed with lupus when she was 17. Doctors say the chronic inflammatory disease causes the immune system to turn against the body. About 1.5 million people in the U.S. are affected. She hopes a new clinical study using vagus nerve stimulation will help her and other patients living with the sometimes debilitating disease.

Dr. Cynthia Aranow is a medical investigator at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset. She says the vagus nerve, which runs from the brainstem to the abdomen, is a natural pathway that controls inflammation. If proven successful, she hopes it would provide an alternative treatment to oral medications that often have harmful side effects.

Kaamilah hopes this will be the solution.

The study is open to eligible patients with lupus. They hope to begin the trial before spring.