Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center have developed a blood test to diagnose membranous nephropathy in its early stages.

The test was developed by identifying an antigen protein that helps to identify and measure the amount of the antibodies in a blood sample.

Boston University School of Medicine assistant professor of medicine Laurence Beck said that identifying the presence of antibodies using a blood test has tremendous implications about who is treated with often toxic immunosuppressive drugs, and for how long.

"For the first time, a specific biomarker has been identified for this relatively common kidney disease," Beck said.