Ongoing Research Aims to Improve Monitoring and Detection for Lupus Nephritis

According to a story from, a pair of researchers affiliated with the University of Houston are planning to dedicate their time to improving detection and monitoring of lupus nephritis, a condition of kidney inflammation associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (more commonly known as just lupus). This research is to be a funded by a total of $5 million in grants from that National Institutes of Health (NIH).

About Lupus Nephritis

Lupus nephritis is a medical complication characterized by kidney inflammation which can appear as a result of systemic lupus erythematosus, more commonly known as lupus. In effect it is a form of glomerulonephritis, but this form is linked specifically to lupus and has notable differences in outcomes and presentation. Lupus nephritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. The cause of lupus and lupus nephritis is not well understood, with a variety of genetic and environmental factors possibly playing a role. Symptoms of the disease include swelling, fever, foamy urine, joint pain, high blood pressure, muscle pain, and the characteristic butterfly rash that also appears with systemic lupus. Treatment usually involves the use of immune system suppressing drugs such as corticosteroids, but when the disease progresses to kidney failure, kidney transplant is the best option. To learn more about lupus nephritis, click here.

Improving Diagnosis, Detection, and In-Home Monitoring

One of the researchers in Dr. Chandra Mohan. His grant totals $3 million and he plans to prioritize improving disease diagnostics. Dr. Mohan is regarded as one of the national leaders in lupus research. Dr. Tianfu Wu will be spearheading a $2 million dollar research project and will focus on the development of a system or tool that will be able to test for multiple biomarkers related to lupus nephritis simultaneously. This system will also include a smartphone app that will function as a reporting tool for patient monitoring in-home. This disease tends to have serious flare ups and early detection of them in the home setting can help maximize the effectiveness of treatment.

Biomarkers are common scientific indicators that are used to gauge the status of a patient’s disease. They are essential components for accurate monitoring and diagnosis. They can help doctors predict how a patient’s disease could progress over time as well and determine the best course of treatment action. Mohan’s research has found nearly 30 proteins that serve as biomarkers for lupus nephritis. 

Hopefully these projects will help improve the lives of patients with this rare condition.

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