Nephrologists from the Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) are investigating the key causes of lupus nephritis – an autoimmune disease that can cause kidney failure. Lupus causes chronic inflammation due to the immune system attacking itself.
Like many autoimmune diseases, the cause of lupus is unknown but it can affect numerous parts of the body, specifically the kidneys.
Assistant in the project, S. Connery, said, “There have been no new treatments for lupus in the past 20 to 30 years. Many of the drugs have not panned out – they do not work for all patients or they cause negative side effects. We’re part of a huge initiative to change that.”
Numerous research groups have come together on this project, hoping to create a drug to better treat lupus and other autoimmune diseases as well. Other institutions included are TTUHSC El Paso, the University of California, San Francisco, Temple University, the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and various pharmaceutical companies.
Blood, urine and tissues samples will be collected from newly diagnosed patients with lupus nephritis, and after a year of standard treatment samples will be collected again. Researchers will study the samples to gain a better understanding of the disease in order to determine its cause and create a successful treatment.
The initiative will take five years and cost roughly $42 million from joint sponsors.
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