Leading the way to a cure

Lupus Research Update: 2014 Volume 3

Volume 3, 2014 | In This Issue

Lupus Treatments: The Spectrum of Possibilities >
Looking at Inhibitors to Treat Lupus >
Facing Lupus with an Open Heart >
Lupus Insight Prize 2014 Winner Announced >
Celebrating 15 Years of Progress in Lupus Research >
Lupus News Corner >


Since its inception in 1999, the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) has been pushing the boundaries of lupus scientific inquiry — and the very notion of what was even considered possible.

During these past 15 years, studies funded by the ALR have broadened the basic understanding of the disease, expanded the realm of therapeutic targets, and opened up worlds of new treatment possibilities.


With only one drug approved for lupus in over 50 years and serious side effects from existing treatments — there remains a critical need for new therapies.

The overall pace of drug development in lupus has been slow. Why? Lupus may be the most complex disease in medicine. It is multisystem — involving the skin and vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, and brain — and it is extremely difficult to diagnose and treat.

ALR-funded investigators and their teams are illuminating new directions in lupus research through scientific studies that seek new therapies to: prevent B and T cell proliferation, target or interrupt inducers of persistent immune activation/inflammation, inhibit or modulate inflammatory processes involved in flares, block renal inflammation, restore cardiac tissue and function — and much more.

Have these aggressive pursuits been effective? There is no doubt that the ALR has been a major driver in the development of new treatments. In fact, the ALR has supported research leading to the development of a large number of the agents in the current clinical pipeline.

ALR president, Kenneth M. Farber, underscores the organization’s vital position: "Today, many new drugs are in the clinical pipeline and I'm proud to say that the ALR played an extremely important role in their development. Our initial funding got the ball rolling."


To rapidly open up new avenues of treatment for people with lupus, the ALR has embarked on a campaign that radically shifts the thinking behind the way drugs are utilized. The ALR will be looking at drugs that have already been approved by the FDA to treat other diseases. This concept is called "drug repositioning."

Drug repositioning has the potential to greatly reduce risks and increase the benefits of scientific exploration.

This concept can:

  • Save Time — Because these drugs have already been proven safe, years of testing can be saved.
  • Reduce Costs — The average cost to develop a new drug is $1 billion.
  • Improve Outcomes — Existing drugs have inherent reduced risks and offer a storehouse of clinical data on efficacy, toxicity, safety and dosing.
  • Reshape the Future of Lupus Research — This new initiative has the potential to rapidly reveal multiple new lupus therapies at a fraction of the cost of developing a new one.

Better armed than ever before, the ALR will continue to battle lupus on many fronts — both through our grant mechanisms and drug repositioning efforts — to identify better treatments and forms of prevention. These approaches will help the ALR realize its ultimate aim — a cure for lupus.

1.5 million

people in the U.S. have Lupus.

172 million

dollars committed to lupus research by the Lupus Research Alliance.

We're walking across the United States to raise awareness and funds for lupus research.


Show your support by visiting the Lupus Research Alliance online store. Discover the perfect gift, or prepare for a walk with our selection of apparel and accessories.

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