WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Research presented during the 9th International Lupus Congress held in Vancouver, Canada from June 24-27, 2010 should give hope and encouragement for the future of the treatment and management of lupus to the 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide living with lupus. In recent years, there have been significant advances made in many areas of lupus research including the development of new treatments, adult stem cell transplantation, genetics, lupus-related cardiovascular disease, and quality of life issues for people with lupus.
It has been more than 51 years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug for lupus. The number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that have recently reported positive results for clinical trials evaluating new treatments for lupus is a demonstration of the progress that has been made in lupus research and the development of new treatments. GlaxoSmithKline and Human Genome Sciences, ViforPharma, and UCB and Immunomedics, Inc. all recently reported promising results for potential new treatments for lupus. This is a significant step forward for lupus, which until last year never had a successfully completed Phase III clinical trial of a potential new therapy for the disease.
“We are beginning to move toward a new era for people with lupus, where lupus is a chronic, but manageable condition, and people with the disease will have the ability to maintain a good quality of life,” said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA). “Through its National Research Program, Bringing Down the Barriers, the LFA will continue to address the unmet need of individuals living with lupus, by working to advance the science and medicine of lupus, and focusing its support on areas of research where gaps exist in the understanding of lupus and where other public and private organizations are not focusing their efforts.”
Highlights from other areas of lupus research presented at the International Lupus Congress include:
Clinical Trial Design: Due to the heterogeneity and complexity of lupus, clinical trial design has been one of the major challenges in the development of new therapies for lupus. Some lessons learned include: the length of the trial must be considered, as some drugs may require up to five years to demonstrate efficacy; the use of cytoxin created a standard of care that is hard to surpass; the speed of drug effectiveness needs to be compared; and the trial needs to distinguish whether it is targeting mild or severe disease. Further studies are also needed on clinical trial design.
Genetics: Lupus is a genetically complex disease, which means that multiple genes as well as non-genetic factors contribute to a person’s risk for the disease. Recently, more than 20 genes have been identified that influence a person’s risk for lupus. Further research will provide targets for the development of new therapies. Eventually, genes may also be able to help predict whether a person might develop lupus later in life.
Quality of Life: The impact of lupus on a person’s quality of life and how a physician can help a patient manage their disease and maintain a quality of life has been poorly understood and under-researched. However, researchers are beginning to look at how depression, stress, and body image all affect health outcomes and a person’s quality of life. The goal of this line of study is to develop a tool that will measure a person’s quality of life, and to develop targeted interventions and strategies to assist patients in managing their lupus and improving their quality of life.
Adult Stem Cell Transplantation: Adult stem cell transplantation has shown promise in research as a potential treatment for lupus, particularly for those with severe disease and major organ involvement. Data from a pilot study indicates that certain patients have achieved a sustained remission without any drugs for up to five years.
Lupus-Related Cardiovascular Disease: Individuals with lupus have significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease. Ongoing studies are examining the role of Type 1 interferon in causing cardiovascular disease in individuals with lupus. Type 1 interferon is a protein that binds to certain cell receptors.
Lupus is an acute and chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ in the body. Lupus can be unpredictable and potentially fatal, yet no satisfactory treatment or cure exists. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus. Its health effects include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, miscarriages, and organ failure. For more information about lupus visit, www.lupus.org.
About the LFA
The LFA is the nation’s foremost nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. The LFA and its national network of chapters, branches, support groups and affiliated groups conduct programs of research, education, and advocacy.
KEYWORDS: United States North America Canada District of Columbia
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Stem Cells Health Biotechnology Clinical Trials Genetics Public Policy/Government Healthcare Reform Pharmaceutical Public Policy