Research funded by the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) has established the potential of assessing kidney disease in lupus using two non-invasive tests which employ biomarkers.
Biomarkers are measurable substances that decrease or increase with the severity of the disease and are being used more frequently in diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Research headed by Dr Joshua Thurman at the University of Colorado has lead to an investigational contrast agent capable of detecting proteins associated with disease present in the kidney, when coupled with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. The MRI contrast agent developed by Dr Thurman and his team is capable of detecting lupus kidney damage. The MRI scans of lupus mice showed the association between the severity of inflammation of the kidney and the amount of proteins present.
Dr Thurman, who performed the study on mice, explained that the MRI approach is safe in addition to being a more sensitive substitute to biopsy. Moreover, it examines the entire kidney as opposed to just a tissue sample. Dr Thurman also added that the process could track the disease over time and measure the patient’s response to the treatment. The results have been published in the 1st October issue of the Kidney International Show.
A similar research headed by MD Dallas-based at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Chandra Mohan and MD of New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Chaim Putterman has indicated that the levels of certain proteins present in the urine can be measured using a non-invasive procedure to monitor kidney disease. The collaborated animal study helped the researchers to identify four proteins present in increasing quantities in urine of patients affected with severe kidney damage. Based on their studies, the research has progressed to understanding the correlation between increased protein levels and increase of the disease in lupus patients.
Dr Chaim Putterman stated that with funding received from LRI, the team is conducting tests using the urine of lupus patients in order to establish the importance of the proteins either as a sign of disease severity or as a biomarker. Dr Putterman explained that by predicting the worsening of symptoms in the patients and by monitoring the patient’s response, it is possible to manage the disease more efficiently.