Mr. Chandra Mohan, an Indian-origin endowed professor in the University of Houston’s biomedical engineering department, and his research team members Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz have got a USD 600,000 private grant for their path-breaking research to develop a new treatment for lupus. The grant is from the Lupus Research Alliance.
Importantly, Lupus nephritis, a kidney disease, is a complex autoimmune disease. It is difficult to diagnose, treat and defeat. Only one treatment has been approved in nearly 60 years. Research has revealed that Lupus patients may have increased ALCAM ((activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule)) in both their immune systems and their kidneys, and this probably activates the immune system and causes the kidney disease in lupus patients. Healthy people need ALCAM to activate their T cells to fight off foreign microbes in the body. However, for patients with an autoimmune disease, the activated T cells fight the patient's own tissues, rather than a foreign body. Lupus is quite common among African-Americans and Hispanics in the US, and common in Asia.
Mohan will continue tracking ALCAM to confirm its presence in the kidneys of lupus patients rather than just the urine, while also investigating whether the increased ALCALM is indeed driving the disease. His research will also contain treating lupus by testing an antibody that blocks ALCAM.