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Backstreet Boy Howie D. Raises Lupus Awareness

Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough (better known as Howie D.) visited the Early Show along with Dr. John Yee, a pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital to talk about Veritas Medicine, an Internet company that is giving new options to people with lupus. Dr. Yee is the chief medical officer at Veritas Medicine.

When Howie D.'s older sister Caroline died from lupus almost 3 years ago, he decided to use his celebrity status to help rid the world of this sometimes deadly disease that affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans.

In collaboration with his family, Howie D. founded the nonprofit Dorough Lupus Foundation, whose mission is to raise money for lupus research, education, and for financial assistance for those who cannot afford treatment.

Now his foundation has joined forces with Veritas Medicine and as part of the new alliance, reciprocal Web site links have been established between and to further lupus awareness and education about this disease.

Lupus causes the immune system to attack the body's own tissue, and there is no cure for it. It most commonly affects women between the ages of 15 and 44, and resultant kidney disease is a leading cause of sickness and death. Kidney complications occur in up to 75% of patients with lupus.

Howie D. lost his sister, Caroline, to lupus in September 1998. At that time, Caroline's doctor approached Howie D. with the idea that he could help lead the charge in fighting this mysterious yet debilitating and often deadly disease.

"We are pleased to announce that the Dorough Lupus Foundation will join forces with Veritas Medicine to further our common goals of building awareness for lupus and educating the public about this disease," said Howie D. "Establishing Web links between Veritas Medicine and the Dorough Lupus Foundation will create a better source of information on what kinds of clinical trials and treatments are available."

Lee says, "Lupus is a serious chronic illness that can be fatal. Lupus can be mild in some cases and very serious in others. It usually develops over many years."

He says it's important for patients to know about research because there are important new drugs being developed every day. With this information, patients can get access to these new drugs and treatments and it could save their lives.

Lee says there is hope--in the form of promising new drugs--on the horizon.

"LJP-394 is a new drug for lupus patients with kidney disease. Kidney disease due to lupus is one of the more severe complications. LJP-394 is a promising new treatment being studied now in clinical trials."

Veritas Medicine provides information on treatments like LJP-394 and offers access to clinical trials. The information is for lupus patients and over 50 other life-threatening diseases, including: diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.

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