This medical video looks at the new treatments available for those who have Lupus.
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Jennifer Matthews: Valerie is thankful for the everyday tasks she can do today. More than a year ago, this would have been nearly impossible. Valerie Leary-Davis: I couldn't stand up straight and walk because when my kidney was originally attacked, I lost all strength. Jennifer Matthews: Like many lupus patients, Valerie developed severe lupus nephritis, a kidney disorder. One major problem is protein leaking from the kidneys. Valerie Leary-Davis: I was spilling 4,000 milligrams of protein. I am currently down to 918. Jennifer Matthews: What made the difference? A drug called Cellcept. Dr. Ellen Ginzler: It causes decreased auto-antibody production and then, in turn, decreased production of proteins, which are part of the inflammation. Jennifer Matthews: In Doctor Ellen Ginzler's study, 140 people received either Cellcept or standard treatment -- the cancer drug, cyclophosphamide. Dr. Ellen Ginzler: 16 on CellCept had a complete remission compared to only 4 on intravenous cyclophosphamide. Jennifer Matthews: Not only was Cellcept less toxic, it also helped black patients who have more severe and higher rates of lupus and may not respond well to treatment. It worked for Valerie. Valerie Leary-Davis: I have to say I feel absolutely wonderful. I was a very sick lady, and it's changed my life. Jennifer Matthews: For starters, she's back to enjoying life's simple pleasures. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.