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ACR Special Report: Chicago, IL 2011

Update on Biomarkers

A holy grail of lupus is to identify a panel of blood tests that can tell physicians how a patient’s disease will progress and what treatments would be most beneficial. This is particularly difficult given that the disease presents so differently in so many patients. But a poster presented at the ACR meeting by researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, including ALR Scientific Advisory Board Chair Mary “Peggy” Crow, MD, reports on a recent study that may eventually provide that information.ix

The researchers conducted genetic analyses and measured levels of 44 autoantibodies and pro-inflammatory cytokines on 169 blood samples from 23 patients with lupus and 5 healthy donors that had been collected over 3 years. The two most common gene signatures were type 1 interferon (IFN-1) inducible genes and neutrophil granule-related genes. Patients with neither gene signature had only mild disease; while those with both the IFN-1 and neutrophil signatures were more likely to experience vascular complications such as cardiovascular and kidney damage, and much higher levels of anti-SSA/Ro autoantibodies. Patients who expressed the IFN-1 signature only were more likely to have mucocutaneous manifestations, such as those affecting the skin, scalp, and nails, and much higher levels of tumor necrosis factor.

Key point: This study provides promising data on the potential of a biomarker panel to identify subsets of lupus disease that could guide treatment decisions. Additional clinical trials are necessary, however.

More information about lupus and treatment advances can be found by visiting www.lupusresearch.org.

The Alliance for Lupus Research Special Report on the 2011 American College of Rheumatology Meeting was made possible in part by generous support from Genentech.

©2011 Alliance for Lupus Research. All Rights Reserved.

Contents herein may not be reproduced, republished or distributed without the prior written permission of the Alliance for Lupus Research. To request permission to reproduce, republish or distribute any part of this report, contact us at 212-218-2840 or email info@lupusresearch.org.

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