May 27, 2021
Funding innovative research year-round is the most meaningful way the Lupus Research Alliance Lifts Up Lupus with the promise of better treatments and one day a cure.
This excellent article in EVERYDAY HEALTH reports on eight of the most important discoveries in lupus of the past year, virtually all of which got their start with funding from the Lupus Research Alliance. Adding perspective is our own Albert Roy, Executive Director of LRA’s Clinical Affiliate Lupus Therapeutics and Dr. Teodora Staeva, LRA Chief Scientific Officer.
“COVID-19 called a halt to many clinical trials that were underway or gearing up to recruit participants in 2020, says Albert Roy, the executive director of the Lupus Research Alliance affiliate Lupus Therapeutics, the administrative agent of the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (a group of 57 academic research medical centers working on the development of lupus therapies). “Despite that, this was an exciting year with some wonderful outcomes. We have the first new, approved lupus therapies since 2011, as well as another potential lupus treatment called anifrolumab under consideration by the FDA, too.”
Dr. Staeva commented on one of the eight top discoveries, a study funded by LRA’s Distinguished Innovator Award to Dr. Eric Morand that could lower the level of dangerous steroids currently used to control lupus symptoms:
Researchers from Australia’s Monash University found a potential reason why people with lupus often need high steroid doses to control their condition. In a study published in Lancet Rheumatology in March 2021, the researchers showed that an immune-system protein called type 1 interferon can block the activity of steroids, creating a problem called “steroid resistance.” Researchers have known that some people with lupus can have high levels of type 1 interferon, says Teodora Staeva, PhD, the chief scientific officer for the Lupus Research Alliance. The LRA funded the research, but Dr. Staeva was not involved in the study.
The good news, she adds: “There are medications in development, including one under consideration by the FDA called anifrolumab, that target type 1 interferon. In one clinical trial of anifrolumab, participants were able to use lower steroid doses.”
Click here for the full EVERYDAY HEALTH article to learn how the tremendous progress reported promises to transform lupus management.