Lupus Research on the Cusp of Validating New Biomarkers for the Disease
In an interview with The Rheumatologist, Jill Buyon, MD, director of the Lupus Center at New York University Langone Medical Center and Editor-in-Chief of Lupus Science & Medicine, shared examples of several lupus biomarkers that appear to be on the brink of validation. From potential ways to track disease progress, to new tests that help predict lupus flares and the long-term course of the disease, research efforts are shedding more light on this complicated illness. Soon, we may even be able to identify different “molecular fingerprints” – characteristic clusters of genes that indicate how a particular patient’s lupus will manifest and precisely how to target that individual’s treatment.
The term biomarker is a broad one, referring to any measurable characteristic that can serve as an indicator of health, illness, disease process or disease response to an intervention. Current biomarkers used to diagnose and assess lupus include anti-double stranded DNA antibodies, blood complement levels and anti-Ro and anti-La antibodies. However, because of its complex and variable nature, discovering additional biomarkers is crucial to improve our understanding and treatment of the disease. In fact, according to the global experts tapped by the Addressing Lupus Pillars for Health Advancement Project, the currently limited number of lupus biomarkers is one of the most critical barriers facing the field today.
The research is already advancing at a breathtaking pace. As scientific discoveries continue to reveal more about lupus, new biomarkers for the disease are most certainly on the horizon, and the future is bright. Learn about lab tests for lupus.