THERAPEUTIC TARGET IN SLE VALIDATED FOR ATACICEPT:
Our research and development work in Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases focuses on proteins that modulate key pathogenic mechanisms in these diseases. We are developing the recombinant protein atacicept for autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This innovative compound blocks the two immunomodulatory factors APRIL and BLyS. They are important for the survival and the proliferation of lymphocytes that trigger an abnormal immune reaction against the patients own normal tissues.
SLE is a chronic, autoimmune disease that mainly affects women and is an area of great unmet medical need. We are currently enrolling patients into a Phase II/III clinical trial with atacicept in SLE. In the second half of 2009, a competitor published positive data from two Phase III trials in SLE involving a BLyS-targeted compound administered intravenously. These results are encouraging for us since atacicept targets not only BLyS but also APRIL, and is administered by subcutaneous injection, which is more convenient for patients than an infusion.
In 2008, we discontinued a Phase II/III study in lupus nephritis (LN), a particularly severe form of kidney failure, owing to infections that were probably the result of significant disease activity coupled with the concomitant use of several immunosuppressive medications. Having evaluated the trial data, we are now adjusting the clinical development plan for atacicept in lupus nephritis.
What's more, the LFA has recently re-launched the LFAs Center for Clinical Trial Education with the addition of the Lupus Research Registry. The registry uses information provided by the registrants to help connect them to local clinical studies. In addition to the registry, the CCTE also offers resources about clinical trials and participation in clinical trials. Visit the Center by clicking this link, and you can sign up for the registry here.
Let's keep the ball rolling with new treatments for lupus. Go trials go!