Marcus Clark, MD

University of Chicago, IL

2005 Kidney, Human Lupus Biology

Marcus Clark, MDDr. Clark had a novel idea: that the kidneys of people with lupus may actually contain activated B cells that directly promote inflammation and damage in these critical organs.

He started out with clinical evidence that B lymphocytes—immune cells that are believed to make antibodies to the body's own tissues in lupus—invade the kidney and directly contribute to damage there.

To carry out an extended exploration of why this is important and describe just what role B cells play in lupus nephritis, he used human tissue from kidney biopsies.

The research represented a new direction for this established lupus investigator in basic lymphocyte biology.

Discovery: In examining small bits of tissue taken from inflamed lupus kidneys, Dr. Clark did in fact find activated B cells.

And now he has an NIH grant for $1.7 million to further explore, explain, and expand on this major discovery.

“This government grant was funded entirely based on research supported by the LRI,” Dr. Clark said.

Ongoing funding:

Dr. Clark first received an NIH grant—$1.7 million including indirect costs (about $1.1 million in direct costs)—to expand on this discovery. And in 2009, in part based on work supported by the LRI grant, the Knapp Center for Lupus Research was selected as a recipient of one of the nation’s nine “Autoimmunity Center of Excellence Grants.” The prestigious 5-year award for $4.2 million will enable Dr. Clark and his team to further explore the relationship between lupus and B cell tolerance.

Rev. July 2010