For when it actually is Lupus: New Autoimmune Crisis Drug reaches Human Trials

22/10/2015 - 4 minutes

ArGEN-X from Ghent (BE) and Breda (NL) has initiated its phase I human trials for Auto-immune diseases such as systemic lupus erythmatosus (SLE) – a rare chronic disease which has had little progress in the last 50 years. Here is the story behind SLE…

As a rare disease, Dr. House and his fictional diagnostics team are generally correct when they say ‘It’s never Lupus‘. However, for 20-70 individuals per 100,000 across the globe, sometimes the culprit really is the chronic and debilitating systemic lupus erythmatosus (SLE).

SLE is a complex chronic disease caused by the auto-immune inflammation of tissues, with an unpredictable sequence of effects on multiple organs. Standard treatment for SLE includes immuno-suppressants (cyclophosphamides and coritcosteroids) and palliative care for periods of crisis (termed ‘flares’). A more in-depth blog from the Wellcome Trust summarizes SLE here.

Lupus is a poorly tackled disease, and the first therapy to reach the market in 50 years was only in 2011: when GSK acquired marketing rights to Belimumab

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