LRA Uncovering What Causes Lupus Nephritis to Improve Treatment
LRA Uncovering What Causes Lupus Nephritis to Improve Treatment

January 16, 2020

The Lupus Research Alliance has invested millions in research to get us to the point we’re at with potential new treatments for LN.  We are proud to share what just ten of our funded scientists are doing right now to discover what causes lupus nephritis and how it can be better diagnosed, monitored and treated.

  • With our largest grant, the Distinguished Innovator Award, Nir Hacohen at Broad Institute is studying which specific cells are responsible for injuring the kidneys of people with lupus. His aim is to provide new targets for treatments that prevent this damage and a way to predict which patients will respond to which treatments.
  • Another Distinguished Innovator awardee, Shu Man Fu at University of Virginia, is looking at the protein C1q as a culprit in promoting kidney failure and determining if measuring the levels of this protein can help diagnose lupus nephritis and monitor response to treatment.
  • Vicki Kelley at Harvard Medical School has discovered a master switch, a protein Ptprz, that turns on kidney inflammation and her funded study will determine if turning off this switch can protect against damage. Next step would be to develop drugs that can flip the switch.
  • Janos Peti-Peterdi at University of Southern California invented a highly sensitive microscope to examine kidneys of animals with lupus in fine detail and with his LRA grant will use that technology to determine what goes wrong with the kidneys and how they can be repaired.
  • LRA is supporting the work of Anne Davidson at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research to illuminate how lupus leads to kidney damage and why the disease is more common in women than in men.
  • Erika Boesen at University of Nebraska is studying if a newly discovered type of cell death called ferroptosis contributes to kidney damage by promoting the inflammation that characterizes lupus nephritis.
  • At University of Michigan, Jason Knight is mapping out how turning off a protein called elastase could prevent kidney damage and other dangerous complications.
  • Laurence Morel, University of Florida is testing in lupus models combinations of drugs like the approved diabetes treatment metformin that reduce sugar levels can slow or reverse kidney damage.
  • Vipin Kumar at University of California San Diego is testing a novel hypothesis backed by his own preliminary data to explore a drug already used to fight tropical parasites as a potential oral medication to prevent and treat kidney damage in lupus.
  • Jeremy Tilstra at University of Pittsburgh is figuring out how to exhaust T cells so they are too tired to attack the kidneys and other organs.

With your help, we look forward to funding more studies in 2020 that can crack the underlying cause of lupus nephritis with the aim to prevent and reverse disease in the future.

Together, ManyOne Can make a difference!