LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — USC’s Keck School of Medicine announced Monday that a gift from Selena Gomez will support research into lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that the 24-year-old singer-actress has been battling for several years.
Her donation — the Keck School declined to reveal the amount — created the “Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research” that will initially support a pilot research program focused on treating complications of the disease.
“I continue to be optimistic about the progress being made in lupus research and am proud to support the promising work at Keck School of Medicine. I am hopeful for the millions of us around the world that may benefit from this,” Gomez said in a statement released by the Keck School.
Gomez revealed in October 2015 that she was diagnosed with lupus and had undergone chemotherapy treatment. She canceled tour dates in 2013 to deal with complications from the disease, and last August said she was again taking time off to tend to her health.
The research program will be led by Dr. Janos Peti-Peterdi, a professor of physiology and biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine, and “potentially lays the foundation for targeted therapeutic treatment breakthroughs,” according to Keck.
“We are extremely pleased to partner with Selena in her efforts to promote awareness and medical research toward a much-needed cure for lupus,” Peti-Peterdi said. “Complications from systemic lupus cause serious damage, and we are hopeful that our research, with Selena’s support, will help those affected by this disease lead full, healthy lives.”
Lupus is an inflammatory disease that occurs when a person’s immune system attacks the body’s tissues and organs. It affects more than 1.5 million Americans and more than 5 million people worldwide. Currently there is no cure.
Gifts to support the work of the Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research can be made at keck.usc.edu/giving/selenafund.