Lupus Research Institute Offers Help and Best Wishes to Nick Cannon in Struggle with Lupus Nephritis

Nick Cannon

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 has been diagnosed properly, and on behalf of all patients with lupus appreciate his openness in discussing his battle with lupus nephritis today on Good Morning America.

Difficult to diagnose and to treat, lupus is a chronic, 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 worldwide, have lupus. African Americans are three times at risk for lupus than Caucasians.

Lupus Nephritis

An estimated one third of people with lupus are affected by lupus nephritis – a serious manifestation of lupus in which the immune system attacks the kidneys. While nine out of 10 people with lupus are women, men with the disease tend to have more severe consequences and are more prone to lupus nephritis.

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 happened to Nick. Fortunately, he is getting proper treatment and making 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.”

The latest discoveries from the LRI 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 (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.”