Selena Gomez donates to establish new lupus research fund

Selena Gomez has helped to establish a lupus research charity in her name at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine.

The Come & Get It hitmaker, who was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease in 2014, has made the first donation to the Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research in the hopes medics will be able to find a cure one day soon.

"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," the 24-year-old shares in a statement to "I am hopeful for the millions of us around the world that may benefit from this."

Money from the new charity will initially support a pilot research program aimed at treating lupus complications through targeted therapy.

Janos Peti-Peterdi, professor of physiology and biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine, says, "We are extremely pleased to partner with Selena in her efforts to promote awareness and medical research toward a much-needed cure for lupus.

"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."

The news emerges seven months after Selena canceled a planned tour last August (16) and enrolled in a 90-day rehab program to deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression, all linked to her ongoing lupus battle.

She returned to the spotlight at the American Music Awards in November (16) and has since revealed living through her own health nightmare made her work on new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why much more personal and challenging.

"To be frank with you, I actually was going through a really difficult time when they started production," she told Entertainment Tonight last month (Feb17). "I went away for 90 days, and I actually met a ton of kids in this place that were talking about issues that these characters are experiencing."