Emily Baechler Gillespie, PhD
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Dr. Baechler received an extension of the grant given to Timothy Behrens, MD
While many genes are believed to be involved in lupus, the discovery of one that appears with relative consistency means that genetic testing for lupus may be a possibility.
In LRI-funded work that she took over when Dr. Timothy Behrens left to work at Genentech, Dr. Baechler analyzed blood samples from people with lupus at various time points to determine whether certain serum proteins could be used to measure active disease and predict future flares.
In a group of 30 people, her team has shown that 4 serum proteins (chemokines) that are regulated by type-1 interferon can be used as biomarkers of SLE disease activity. The team's findings were published in a 2006 PLoS Medicine paper, and results collected from longitudinal data collected on 1,500 samples from 300 patients were presented the findings at an American College of Rheumatology meeting.
Now the University of Minnesota has a patent application filed on the “chemokine test.”
“Although my lab continues to focus on SLE, the results of our LRI-funded project have led to collaborations in which the chemokine test is being evaluated in other autoimmune diseases. This shows the potential for our work in lupus to teach us more about other autoimmune diseases and potentially benefit additional patient populations.”
– Dr. Baechler, 2010
Interferon-regulated chemokines as biomarkers of systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity: a validation study. Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Oct;60(10):3098-107. Bauer JW, Petri M, Batliwalla FM, Koeuth T, Wilson J, Slattery C, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, Gregersen PK, Behrens TW, Baechler EC.
Elevated Serum Levels of Interferon-Regulated Chemokines Are Biomarkers for Active Human Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. PLoS Med. 2006 Dec 19;3(12):e491. Bauer JW, Baechler EC, Petri M, Batliwalla FM, Crawford D, Ortmann WA, Espe KJ, Li W, Patel DD, Gregersen PK, Behrens TW.
In the winter of 2010, Dr. Baechler received official award notice of a $1.2 million grant from the Minnesota Partnership (and to be shared with the Mayo Clinic) to continue this work in identifying "pre-lupus" patients via the "chemokine test" that she first explored with the LRI grant. She previously received a $25,000 from the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota to build on her LRI work.
Rev. July 2010
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