2021 Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Fellow
University of Western Ontario
Project Title: Interferon Alfa as a Biomarker to Predict Lupus Nephritis Response to Treatment
Mentor: Murray B. Urowitz, MD, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the Centre for Prognosis Studies in the Rheumatic Diseases and the Lupus Clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital
Project Summary: One of the common complications of Systematic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) is Lupus Nephritis (LN), in which the kidneys of lupus patients become inflamed and cannot function normally. Although all patients receive similar therapy for this complication, one third of them do not respond favorably leading to kidney failure and a need for dialysis or renal transplant in a few years. Unfortunately, currently we do not have any easily measured biomarkers to predict which patients do not respond to the conventional treatments. Our lab proposes to investigate whether the amount of two inflammatory biomarkers in the blood, Interferon, and Neutrophil Extracellular Traps complexes, can predict the treatment response in SLE patients with LN, leading to improved clinical outcomes for non-responders as they can receive more aggressive therapy to keep their LN in control.