NEW YORK, NY — The Lupus Research Alliance launched a bold initiative, the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN) to accelerate the identification and development of new therapies to treat lupus.
Comprised of leading lupus experts at 58 academic research centers throughout North America, LuCIN provides a coordinated framework to test potential new treatments quickly and cost-effectively while upholding the highest scientific standards. Investigators are committed to the Network, working together to determine which new treatments and approaches to conducting clinical trials are most worth pursuing, as well as to involve patients as active members in the research process.
The goals of LuCIN are to: conduct safe and reliable clinical studies on new lupus treatments; facilitate sharing of clinical and biological data to better understand lupus; and enlist patient input and participation in clinical studies. Another primary objective is to identify leadership and promote collaboration throughout the lupus community of scientists, healthcare providers and patients and families.
“Without patient participation in lupus clinical trials, finding safer and more effective lupus treatments will continue to pose significant challenges,” said Albert Roy, Executive Director of LuCIN. “By connecting and engaging the investigator community and lupus patients in a meaningful way, we hope to improve clinical trial education, build patient trust, and offer access to new and exciting lupus treatments. We aim to make it easier and more comfortable for patients to get involved and make a real difference.”
The Network is also designed to advance quality lupus research by helping attract and train new researchers in the field. Experienced scientists mentor junior investigators at each center, encouraging the next generation of top talent to pursue lupus research as their career path. In addition, the insights gained by a consistent group of highly experienced investigators working on the same studies is expected to improve tools used to measure the effectiveness of potential treatments.
LuCIN was originally created as an outgrowth of a project initiated by the Lupus Research Alliance to test drugs that have been approved for other diseases by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their potential in lupus, known as drug repurposing. Testing existing drugs for their possible use in lupus can bring new treatment options to patients faster. LuCIN will also pursue lupus clinical trials of investigational drugs in partnership with biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies.
First LuCIN Studies
The first planned LuCIN clinical trial will test RAYOS® – a low-dose, delayed-release form of the steroid prednisone, an anti-inflammatory drug. RAYOS is broadly prescribed for Rheumatoid Arthritis and other common inflammatory conditions. The study will look at the effect of RAYOS on the severe fatigue often experienced by people with lupus.
Additional trials planned include studying the potential benefit of contemplative practices on relieving lupus symptoms and comparing sophisticated MRI technology to standard surgical biopsy to assess lupus nephritis.
Lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. More than 90% of people with lupus are women, mostly young women between the ages of 15 to 44. Women of color are especially at risk.
About the Lupus Research Alliance
Born from the merger of three organizations with a common belief in the potential for science to overcome lupus, the Lupus Research Alliance is at the forefront of driving innovative research that can make a difference for people living with the prototypical autoimmune disease. With that shared conviction, the Board of Directors promises to cover the organization’s administrative and operating costs, ensuring that 100% of all donations go directly to funding research programs to realize our vision of a world free from lupus.