New Blood Tests May Support Monitoring – and Ultimately Improve Outcomes – for Kids with Lupus
A recent study finds that several blood proteins can be measured to help determine disease activity and organ involvement in children and teens with lupus. By comparing blood samples of 118 pediatric-onset lupus patients to age-matched healthy controls, researchers found that blood levels of the proteins known as VEGF, Tie2, thrombomodulin and ADAMTS13 are all effective biomarkers for assessing the disease, including kidney and brain involvement.
Because pediatric-onset lupus is associated with more severe disease activity and more rapid damage accrual, finding new ways to manage the progression of the disease is critical. Each of these proteins help point to possible dysfunction of endothelial cells, the thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. The ability to measure and monitor changes in endothelial health is important, as it is both an early signal of vasculopathy (any disease affecting the blood vessels) as well as atherogenesis (the process of forming plaque in the inner lining of the arteries), which can later lead to serious complications like heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease.
By identifying this panel of strong biomarkers, this study offers a potential way to better track and minimize disease risk associated with pediatric-onset lupus. Learn more about lupus and children.