NDT-EDUCATIONAL

Invasive kidney biopsy for lupus patients may be replaced by math model

Mathematics might be able to reduce the need for invasive biopsies in patients suffering kidney damage related to the autoimmune disease lupus.

In a new study, researchers developed a math model that can predict the progression from nephritis - kidney inflammation - to interstitial fibrosis, scarring in the kidney that current treatments cannot reverse. A kidney biopsy is the only existing way to reach a definitive diagnosis of the damage and its extent.

The model could also be used to monitor the effectiveness of experimental treatments for inflammation and fibrosis.

This fibrosis can follow development of lupus nephritis, which occurs in about 60 percent of lupus patients, according to the National Institutes of Health. Inflammation is linked to the most common type of lupus, called systemic lupus erythematosus. The cause of lupus is unknown and it cannot be cured.

The research is published in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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