Lupus Foundation of America Announces Initiatives to Improve Treatment

The Washington, D.C.-based Lupus Foundation of America has announced three initiatives designed to overcome the barriers which have plagued clinical research and obstructed development of new, safe, effective, and more tolerable treatments for lupus, a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease.

Over the past two decades, several clinical trials for therapies to treat lupus have failed. According to the foundation, the unique biology of the disease makes it difficult to assemble uniform patient groups for new clinical trials, while various background medications taken by patients often affect trial results.

To further expand lupus research efforts and ensure the continued development of new therapies, LFA is partnering with key scientific leaders from academia and industry to standardize and improve clinical trial design, enable future studies to be completed more successfully, and help the field reach a consensus of what constitutes a lupus flare — a period of increased disease activity. In addition, LFA also plans to launch an investigator training program.

"Last year, we saw several significant breakthroughs in lupus research, including the first-ever successful completion of two phase III clinical studies for a potential new lupus treatment," said Gary S. Gilkeson, vice chair of the department of medicine for research at the Medical University of South Carolina and chair of the fondation's medical-scientific advisory council. "The recent successes we have seen in lupus research and these initiatives will help provide a pathway forward for lupus drug development."