Study of Renal Tissues Samples and Skin Biopsies Help Approaches to Lupus Nephritis Therapy
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 one of the most serious complications of SLE and occurs in up to 60% of people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). To deconstruct and explain what leads to LN and the heterogeneity (differences) of the disease, researchers conducted single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq), next-generation technology. RNA is used to transfer genetic code and act as a messenger between DNA and ribosomes, or protein builders, to make proteins.
Twenty-one renal tissues samples were collected from LN patients undergoing a clinically indicated renal biopsy, with 17 having a skin punch biopsy at the same time. Type-I interferon (IFN) responses were found to be higher in people with LN versus the healthy individuals. Investigators concluded scRNA-seq is a possible and informative technique in the study of LN because it revealed molecular signatures clinically relevant to diagnostic and prognostic applications which could be used to meaningfully augment the current standard of care. Additionally, the data showed cell-cell interaction may be responsible for disease progression in some people with LN. Learn about lupus in the kidney.