Better Treatment for Lupus

Published in Hopkins Medicine - Winter 2022

“In the future, we hope there will be treatments for APOL1 [for lupus]. It will become essential to identify patients who carry the gene in order to prevent kidney failure.”

Michelle Petri, director of the Johns Hopkins Lupus Center, discussing the results of a new study showing that a risk gene, APOL1, carried by approximately half of all African Americans makes some lupus patients especially prone to kidney failure and end-stage kidney disease. As many as 1 in 250 African American women will develop lupus in their lifetime. Compared with women of other ethnicities, African American women are diagnosed with lupus at a younger age and develop more severe disease. Understanding the underlying causes of this disparity is key to more effective treatments, Petri notes.