Exagen Lupus Test: Looks like somebody's hard work paid off!

Exagen Diagnostics, a rheumatology specialty laboratory, has developed a groundbreaking diagnostic test for lupus, and a fresh new study has found that it works. How exciting!

Read details from the Press Release here:

Because the symptoms of lupus mimic other rheumatic diseases, it has historically been difficult to arrive at a correct diagnosis. 51% of patients with suspected autoimmune or immune disorders are initially misdiagnosed.

Marketed as Avise CTD, the diagnostic tool has recently been proven in studies to be a significant improvement over traditional lab tests. It is the only validated lupus test available incorporating scientifically proven CB-CAPS technology, and it is having a big impact with doctors and their patients.

The test, which requires only one blood draw is helping physicians distinguish between overlapping symptoms and aid them in the differential diagnosis of several systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases, including the difficult-to-diagnose lupus. It took the company and collaborators over five years to validate the test.

 A study recently published in the on-line journal Lupus Science & Medicine proves its effectiveness. “The results showed that this test is highly specific for SLE,” he says, “approaching 100% in the differentiation of SLE versus primary fibromyalgia.”

You can read the official press release here, and feel free to do celebratory cartwheels in your living room! 


Unknown said…
I contacted our doctor hoping to get this test for my 15 (excuse me, today is her 16th birthday) daughter. The doctor's office contracts as a group to give certain tests and asked me to get more info. The company has not responded to my request. How do I get more info and find out who is using this test in my area - Austin, Texas? Thank you for your help!
Sara Gorman said…
Did you try the exagen website? Here's what I found: http://www.exagen.com/avise-ctd-patient-information/

At the above link, you can print out a one sheet explaining their test that you can then share with your doctor who can request the test. Might sound easier than it really is :), but it's worth a shot.

Here's the text from the website:

If you are ready to find out what the underlying reasons are for your symptoms then talk to your doctor about the Avise CTD diagnostic test. With over 90,000 tests performed, there are many doctors familiar with Avise CTD, however, you can open and print a physician communication letter below to help explain the test in greater detail in case your physician is not familiar with this novel service.

Also, I would contact your local lupus organization, and see if they have any resources for you.
Unknown said…
Sara, have you any idea as to whether this test is accurate even with the 10% of the population that lupus doesn't show up on the other regular blood tests.
Sara Gorman said…
Judy - heard back from exagen today. They were super helpful! They will send me a list of doctors in the Austin area who are already contracted to give the test, and I will forward immediately. Shoot me an email at sara@despitelupus.com so I have your email. In the meantime, you can forward that one sheet onto your doctor and see if they can sign on to administer the test. My exagen contact also said they have a patient billing/insurance team who can help walk you through the process. You could call the 800 number on the site, or fill out the form as I did. They called back super quick!
Sara Gorman said…
Good question! As we all know, there are always exceptions. :) While I didn't ask that specific question to the Exagen rep, we did discuss the fact that the test, like any other, is designed to work in conjunction with a clinical examination by a medical professional to determine what exactly is going on. Looking at lupus symptoms or blood work alone might not tell the whole story!
Nancito said…
Is exagen in Canada.
Sara Gorman said…
Thanks for asking! I don't believe so. It appears their offices are in California and New Mexico. I can't be sure, though.
Unknown said…
I just took this lab, and so I researched the various parts from studies done. It misses out on 2 factors, but is overall okay.

1. The CLIFT (Crithidia luciliae) aspect does not specify which version it is. Its a very old test, with the weakest utility when combined with the ELISA. There are better cross-references to use, including the mCLIFT, which modifies the old test with a modified assay so that the subject text is more visually clear and contrasted. I looked for a patent for the test, but Avise does not list a number anywhere, and there is no mention that it is the improved CLIFT. The old version is about as a good as a coin flip.

2. It excludes the very important anti-C1q, which is a newer marker with decent association with forms of lupus. Its not conclusive, but its a good cross-reference, and it could help focus treatment more quickly.
Sara Gorman said…
Jadae16t- Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! I'll share my personal understanding of the tests, but I encourage you to contact the Exagen lab for further details. They have been great to work with, and are very willing to discuss the technical aspects of their tests. They really are "patient first! When I visited the lab, it seemed the CLIFT was only a small portion of the AVISE CTD test. Exagen's CBCAPs are really the key patented component. They do offer C1q testing as well as other tests besides the AVISE CTD panel, all of which help in detecting and managing lupus.

Your doctor might be able to elaborate, too. Always important to loop them in! :)
Thanks again!

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