Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, can wreak havoc on an affected individual's body through inflammation, pain, and even damage of the skin, joints, and organs. To try to better understand how the disease begins and progresses, researchers at the University of Michigan investigated whether kidney biomarkers would signal lupus progression and signs of complications. "Lupus patients have a high risk of kidney involvement, which can lead to end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis or transplant," says Emily Somers, Ph.D., Sc.M., an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine (Rheumatology), Environmental Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at U-M and a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. "In addition, there is a great need for biomarkers to detect early kidney involvement and to monitor progression." Dr. Somers studies lupus outcomes and directs the Michigan Lupus Epidemiology and Surveillance (MILES) Program, which includes a cohort and biorepository registry of more than 650 lupus patients and controls from southeast Michigan. "Lupus is a disease that predominantly affects women, often striking at the prime of life," Dr. Somers says. "Through the MILES Program, we previously showed that for black women, who are disproportionately affected by lupus, their risk of lupus is highest in their 20s. Forty percent of black females with lupus have kidney involvement, and 15 percent have end-stage renal disease." In a new study, presented at the American Society of Nephrology's Kidney Week 2016 meeting in November, Dr. Somers teamed up with U-M colleagues Wenjun Ju, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist, and Matthias Kretzler, M.D., Professor of Nephrology, to measure the urinary epidermal growth factor in patients with lupus. Dr. Ju and Dr.
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