I came across an online Lupus Now article that made me want to get the word out to people. The title was AVISE SLE: Improving Diagnosis, Improving Care by Jenny Thorn Palter.

Systemic Lupus can be difficult to diagnose at times because it mimics other diseases. Surprisingly, I was diagnosed right away and am VERY thankful for that. It saved me time, money and my sanity. It takes some people years to be diagnosed due to misdiagnosis or lack of knowledge.

Tests that are used to see if a person has Lupus include a few tests which include a physical test or lab work which includes an ANA (antinuclear antibody) blood test. To reveal how complex Lupus can be, a person may have a positive ANA test but not have the disease; or a person’s ANA results can show they are positive then another time show they are negative.

A research group has developed a new method of testing called the AVISE SLE test to obtain a diagnosis in a shorter time period. This testing uses a group of proteins called complement. The complement proteins role is to strengthen the body’s immune responses which protect the body against infections.

“Complement proteins are used up by the inflammation caused by lupus, which is why people with inflammation due to active lupus often have low complement levels. There are nine protein groups of complement, so they are identified by the letter C and the numbers 1 through 9. When seeking to diagnose lupus, the most common complement tests are C3, C4, and CH50. Low levels of C3 or C4 may indicate active lupus, while CH50 measures the overall function of complement in the blood,” states the article.

In Pittsburgh at the Lupus Center of Excellence, they proposed that proteins called cell-bound complement activation products (CB-CAPs) might be a good indicator for Lupus. In 2008, a CB-CAP they extensively studied C4d.

“When the complement system is activated, C4d is released into the bloodstream and binds, or attaches, to cells circulating throughout the body. By measuring the C4d levels on red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells in patients with lupus, our research showed that specific levels and patterns of binding can aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of lupus. Most significantly, our research showed that measurement of C4d on these cells might be a more useful tool than many of the other tests currently used to diagnose and monitor lupus,” states Amy H. Kao, M.D., M.P.H., director of biomedical informatics.

A company called Exagen Diagnostics, Inc. receives the blood tests to measure C4d on the cells. Once the test is completed by the physician and ready to ship, it is sent overnight to Exagen. Once the test is received, the turnaround time is SEVEN days! How great is that?!? And most importantly, the AVISE SLE test has been proven to be effective and accurate.

Most health insurance agencies seem to cover this test, which amazes me because there are times it doesn’t feel like they cover anything. Financial assistance is also available from Exagen if it is needed.  To learn more about this test and the company you can visit their website at www.avisetest.com .


A special thanks to http://leclinic.wordpress.com for use of photo.

Source of Lupus Now article: http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_magazineempty.aspx?articleid=4867&zoneid=225