LRA-Funded Researcher Finds New Biomarkers for Lupus Nephritis
LRA-Funded Researcher Finds New Biomarkers for Lupus Nephritis

August 7, 2019

Dr. Chandra Mohan discovered that blood clotting proteins are higher in the urine of people with lupus nephritis, announced University of Houston.

His work showed that both proteins that promote clotting and those that work to dissolve them are involved.  He began examining these proteins because people with lupus and lupus nephritis have more blood clotting issues than the general population. Urine samples for this study were obtained from 113 patients with lupus nephritis.  Dr. Mohan’s paper is published in Arthritis Research and Therapy.

“When I first saw the presence of both I thought ‘This can’t be right, so let’s look at this in more detail with more urine samples and better assays,’” said Mohan, who describes the presence of both proteins as “a raging war” within the kidneys. “If one or the other predominates”, he said,” there are medicines that can regulate the clotting in balance, but when both processes are equally upregulated, balancing this biological process becomes clinically challenging.”

Dr. Mohan has done tremendous work in biomarkers for lupus nephritis, much of which was partly funded by the LRA. He currently has a Target Identification in Lupus grant from the LRA to study a potential new target, the protein ALCAM, for a lupus nephritis treatment.  ALCAM is a small molecule on the outside of T cells of the immune system that helps the T cells move through the tissues of the body, including the kidney. The investigational drug EQ001, that seems to block ALCAM, is being tested by Equillium Inc.

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