The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has issued its first guidelines on treating kidney damage (lupus nephritis), associated with lupus. Conducting a biopsy by surgically removing a sample of the kidney at the first sign of possible damage is recommended. This precautionary guideline differs from that issued by the American College of Rheumatology, which leaves timing of that testing up to the clinician to decide.
Studies funded by the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) show the potential for two novel and non-invasive tests using biomarkers to assess kidney disease in lupus without the need for biopsy, an invasive procedure. Measurable substances that increase or decrease according to the degree of disease, biomarkers are looked at more and more in diagnosis and treatment.
A novel investigational contrast agent developed by Dr. Joshua Thurman at University of Colorado, when used with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can detect proteins in the kidney that indicate disease. Similarly, research by Chaim Putterman, MD at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and Chandra Mohan, MD at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas shows potential for a non-invasive test to monitor kidney disease by measuring levels of specific proteins in urine. Both studies, performed in mice, are now moving to investigations in the human disease.