NEW YORK, March 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) extends best wishes for recovery from kidney failure to Nick Cannon, multi-talented performer and husband to singer Mariah Carey. We are thankful that his lupus was diagnosed properly, and appreciate his openness in discussing his battle with lupus nephritis.
Difficult to diagnose and to treat, lupus is a chronic and often disabling autoimmune disease in which the immune system turns on itself and attacks virtually any organ or tissue in the body. More than 1.5 million Americans and millions more worldwide, have lupus. African Americans are three times more likely to have lupus than Caucasians. While nine out of 10 people with lupus are women, men tend to have more severe consequences and are more prone to developing lupus nephritis.
An estimated one third of people with lupus are affected by lupus nephritis – a common but serious manifestation of lupus in which the immune system attacks the kidneys.
The kidneys keep the balance of fluids in the body at the right levels, taking out waste and extra water from the blood and sending these out of the body through urine. The kidneys also help to control hormone levels and the amount of pressure in the blood vessels. If lupus attacks the kidneys, these functions are impeded and harmful toxins can start to build up in the blood, causing serious damage.
That's what doctors believe has happened to Nick. Fortunately, he is getting the proper treatment and making the recommended lifestyle changes to help control the effects of lupus on his kidneys.
"We at the Lupus Research Institute are working hard to improve the lives of all people like Nick facing the many manifestations of lupus," said Executive Director Margaret Dowd. "The best answers will come from the research, and the LRI has funded many of the decade's most pivotal discoveries, particularly in effects of lupus on the heart and kidneys. While we continue to fund studies for improved diagnosis and treatments, we now have the knowledge base and technology to fund studies searching for the fundamental causes that can lead to the cure."
LRI has supported 14 novel investigations in lupus nephritis, an investment of $4.35 million. Latest discoveries include biomarkers to diagnose and monitor lupus nephritis while avoiding the need for invasive surgical biopsy. Currently, the LRI is funding a study by Dr. Janusz Kabarowski, University of Alabama, Birmingham. "We're investigating whether anti-inflammatory properties of high-density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol HDL) can be harnessed to protect the heart and blood vessels, and stem the immune system's attack on other organs. If so, therapies increasing HDL levels or improving its protective function could treat lupus nephritis."
About the Lupus Research Institute
The Lupus Research Institute, the world's leading private supporter of innovative research, pioneers discovery and champions scientific creativity to find solutions to this dangerous autoimmune disease.
SOURCE Lupus Research Institute