The chief executive officer and president of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, Inc., from 2006 to 2012, Dr. Deirdre Gillespie has worked in health care since beginning her career as a physician in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. During her tenure at La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, Dr. Deirdre Gillespie oversaw the largest systemic lupus erythematosis study ever conducted at the time.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation, swelling, and damage to many of the body’s systems, including the lungs, skin, joints, kidneys, blood, and heart. Lupus makes the immune system incapable of differentiating between healthy tissue and viruses and bacteria and sends antibodies to attack healthy tissue. The disease effects between 1.2 and 1.4 million Americans and has no definitive known cause. The most distinctive lupus symptom is a rash that spreads across the face, although the rash does not occur in all instances. Lupus has no cure, but treatments can be very effective and lessen the effect of symptoms.