Jan. 30, 2012

New Test Shows Promise for Measuring Lupus Nephritis Activity

A pilot study published in the journal LUPUS shows early signs that a protein in the blood called C4d could serve as an indicator of lupus nephritis activity in people with lupus. Lupus nephritis occurs when there is inflammation in the kidney, and is one of the more severe manifestations of lupus. A test that could be used to detect and monitor lupus nephritis activity earlier would allow physicians to treat lupus nephritis more efficiently and help prevent long-term damage.

The protein C4d has shown promise in several studies as a biomarker for lupus disease activity. There are currently no validated biomarkers for lupus, and identifying a lupus biomarker would be a significant advancement in diagnosing and treating the disease. Research funded by the Lupus Foundation of America has been instrumental in advancing this promising area of research. Recently, the company Exagen announced a new test using C4d to help physicians make a faster and more accurate diagnosis of lupus. Lupus is a complex disease and it is unlikely that one blood test will serve all of the patients all of the time. However, research suggests that a more refined way of looking for clues from the complement proteins might be an improvement over tests that are commonly used today.

Read the LFA summary of the study here.

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