What is lupus nephritis?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease estimated to affect more than 1.5 million people in the United States. While anyone can be affected by lupus, the condition is most common in women, who account for around 90 percent of cases.
In lupus, the immune system mistakingly attacks healthy cells and tissues, which can cause pain and swelling in the skin, joints, heart, kidneys, and brain, and other parts of the body.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, as many as 5 in 10 adults with lupus will experience kidney damage, and around 10 to 30 percent of these patients will develop kidney failure.
Lupus nephritis is currently treated with immunosuppressant drugs, with the aim of preventing the immune system from attacking the kidneys. However, these medications may cause some adverse side effects, including increased risk of infection.