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Blood Test To Help Predict Relapse In Patients With Autoimmune Disease Affecting The Kidneys

Update Date: Oct 17, 2014 08:12 AM EDT

Monitoring the blood for autoantibodies may help doctors predict the chance of relapse in patients with an autoimmune disease that often involves kidney, according to a new study. Measures like this may help protect patients' kidney health. 

Patients suffering with autoimmune disorder called anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis produce antibodies that damage blood vessels in the body. Relapses of the disorder may cause severe and permanent damage to organs and other parts of the body. 

Researchers wanted to know if blood levels of ANCA autoantibodies could be used to predict a patient's risk of relapse. They followed 166 patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis. 104 of them had kidney problems associated with their disease and 62 of them did not. 

"By measuring ANCA levels in patients with kidney involvement, doctors can predict which patients are going to relapse. It is expected that by using ANCAs as a guideline, severe relapses necessitating dialysis can be prevented," said lead researcher Jan Willem Cohen Tervaert, MD, PhD, Michael Kemna (Maastricht University, The Netherlands), in the press release.

The findings of the study will be published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). 

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