Tuesday 08, Jun 2010
Physicians at the University of Florida have been able to identify a mysterious disease, lupus, which leads to a self-induced attack by the immune system on itself. The disease is also characterized by a warning signal sent for alerting doctors at the onset of its worst symptoms.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, doctors are still not sure when it comes to identifying which all of their patients affected have this unpredictable autoimmune disorder lupus with life-threatening aspects.
Now doctors with the Center for Autoimmune Diseases at the UF Health Science Center have identified a protein that shows up in markedly increased levels in the urine of lupus patients with kidney disease, and have located the variant of the gene that overproduces the protein. The researchers say this will eventually enable doctors to use a simple urine test to look for the presence of the protein as an early indicator of the development of kidney disease. And in article published this month in Arthritis and Rheumatism, the scientists say the findings also could open a door to the development of preventive treatments, or less toxic treatments that could be given early in the course of the disease.
“All we can do now is quote newly diagnosed lupus patients the statistics for the chance of kidney disease,” said article co-author Dr. Hanno B. Richards, co-director of UF’s Lupus Clinic. “We can offer detailed genetic testing and assess what the likelihood of the disease might be. But with MCP1 (protein), we can screen for the levels in the urine and base our need for treatment on that.”
Lupus is a disease that is characterized by an overactivity of immune system of the body. Doctors, all over the world, normally prescribe immunosuppressant drugs for kidney disease treatment, including steroids, to treat this complication.
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