Mechanisms of vascular injury and dysfunction in pediatric lupus
Pediatric-onset lupus is often more severe than adult-onset lupus. This puts kids with lupus at a higher risk of having heart attacks and strokes when they are young adults. We do not yet know how to monitor this damage as it occurs, much less how to prevent it. With her grant from the Lupus Research Alliance, Dr. Chang will conduct a long-term study of teens with lupus to monitor, over time, their blood pressure patterns along with DNA shed by immune cells in their blood. She hopes to find a marker that will measure early blood vessel injury, so patients with increased risk of cardiovascular trouble later in life can be identified, watched, and appropriately treated.
What this study means for people with lupus
Some children with lupus are at risk of heart disease as they grow up. Dr. Chang aims to devise a non-invasive test using specific markers to help predict their future risk, so they can be monitored and treated before damage occurs.