Kidney Biopsies Analysis Helps to Accelerate Discovery of New Treatments for Lupus Nephritis
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) launched the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) in 2014. This initiative is helping to develop new treatments faster for several complex diseases, including lupus, by bringing together government, pharmaceutical companies, nonprofit organizations and academia to develop new ways of identifying and validating promising biological targets for diagnostics and drug development. Lupus was selected for this project because of the lack of effective targeted therapies for the most severe forms of the disease. AMP is currently focused on unlocking the mysteries of how lupus affects the kidneys and the skin. The Lupus Foundation of America is a proud partner of the AMP program.
Lupus nephritis (LN) is a frequent complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and current treatment is ineffective and often toxic. To gain insights into disease mechanisms, researchers analyzed kidney samples from people with LN and healthy controls using single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq). The Phase I study, a first-of-its-kind, revealed the complex network of leukocytes (help the body fight infection and other diseases) active in LN kidneys.
Twenty-four renal biopsies of people with LN and 10 pre-transplant living donors (LD) were acquired. Investigators found many more leukocytes and epithelial cells (cells found on your skin, blood vessels, urinary tract, and organs) from the LN kidney samples, with an interferon response observed in most cells. Chemokine receptors (activate cellular responses), CXCR4 and CX3CR1, were broadly expressed pointing to pathways that can be used to guide the development of novel therapies. Results of this study will allow analysis on a bigger scale to accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic targets and identification of biomarkers to guide treatments decisions in LN. Learn about lupus in the kidney.