Biomarkers for pediatric lupus nephritis
Through the Lupus Foundation of America’s Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Lupus Research Program, Dr. Kathleen Sullivan of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is embarking on a five-year study to identify biomarkers (which are proteins, genes, and other markers found in the body that are useful for diagnosing a disease, measuring its activity, or measuring the effects of treatment) for kidney disease in children and teens with lupus. Preliminary studies have shown that the HER2 biomarker has been very successful in identifying kidney inflammation. Lupus nephritis (lupus in the kidneys) remains a feared complication, and is a particularly poor prognosis in children. A significant challenge remains the early detection of flare and timely institution of therapy. This is in part due to our limited ability to detect a flare before damage occurs. This study represents a new research approach for kidney disease in lupus. With the new treatments becoming available, we believe this will be a pivotal step in the overall improved care of children with lupus.
The proposed study will examine children with lupus and kidney disease. Their urine will be collected and HER2 measured. Over time, researchers will be able to determine if HER2 in the urine can predict children will have increased inflammation in their kidneys. Researchers also will examine biopsies under the microscope to look at the pattern of HER2 expression to determine if the course of kidney disease can be more accurately predict.
The goal of this project is to develop a rapid test to warn children and teens with lupus nephritis, their families, and their healthcare providers of impending flares and kidney damage.