Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Hillsborough doctor honoured for lupus research

Dr. Stephen Wright

A DOCTOR from Hillsborough will receive a major award this Friday in recognition of his research into the benefits of fish oil for patients suffering from the inflammatory disease 'lupus' which can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs and nervous system.

Dr. Stephen Wright will receive the Irish Society for Rheumatology's 'Young Investigator of the Year' Award at the organisation's annual general meeting in Galway.

Dr. Wright, a Queen's Clinical Research fellow now employed in Musgrave Park hospital, demonstrated that fish oils for patients with lupus may have more than cardiovascular benefits.

He explained: "Part of my work was to investigate different aspects of vascular disease (Blood Vessels) in patients with Lupus by studying the function of the cells lining the blood vessels. I was able to show that in patients with Lupus there was an impaired function that could be improved by Omega-3 fish oils."

At the end of the study, participants who had been taking low doses of Omega-3 fish oil showed improvement in all areas of measurement, including improved blood vessel function and a reduction in cell damaging molecules.

There was also improvement in a number of the symptoms of lupus such as fatigue, joint pains, skin rashes, mouth ulcers and headaches. The location of the research was in the Department of Therapeutics at Queen's University and also in the Musculoskeletal Education and Research Unit in Musgrave Park Hospital. Dr Wright's study supervisors were Professor Gary McVeigh, Dr Aubrey Bell and Professor Michael Finch.

Professor McVeigh welcomed news of Dr Wright's work saying: "I am delighted that Dr Wright has won this prestigious award in the face of intense competition. It is testimony to the quality and novelty of the blood vessel research performed at Queen's University."

Dr Wright was the first clinical research fellow in Northern Ireland to have his work funded by the Wellcome Trust, an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. Established in 1936 it is the UK's largest non governmental source of funds for biomedical research. Lupus UK also supported the research. The Irish Society for Rheumatology (ISR) is a medical society dedicated to the advancement of knowledge in musculoskeletal diseases and to the practice of rheumatology.

Dr Wright's award is for excellence in clinical or scientific research in the field of rheumatology.