The Lupus Research Alliance (LRA)—going bold and thinking big—has once again shifted the status quo of lupus research by becoming the first and only lupus organization to conduct its own clinical trials.
How did we achieve what once seemed unobtainable? We created Lupus Therapeutics (an LRA affiliated organization) and since the program started in 2017, remarkable progress has been made with 10 clinical trial currently underway.
“Lupus Therapeutics serves as the organization that oversees the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN) we created with the LRA,” said Albert Roy, Executive Director of Lupus Therapeutics. “We’re on a mission to accelerate drug discovery for all people living with lupus.” The program has had enormous success right out of the gate.
“When we started, about 30% of our sites participated in LuCIN trials. Today, all 57 sites participate—and many are conducting more than one trial,” said Mr. Roy.
Mr. Roy sees a direct correlation between the partnerships the LRA forged with the biopharma industry and the increasing number of trials now in
Attracting pharmaceutical companies to Lupus Therapeutics was no easy undertaking. The industry is highly focused on conducting trials in very specific ways. “It took some convincing to get pharma to buy into the idea that working together through our LuCIN network could be mutually beneficial,” said Mr. Roy.
But over time the LRA proved that our network was turnkey—ready to go with: Sites located among the most reputable academic medical institutions in the world … top-flight investigators … and a lupus patient population that shows interest in participating in clinical trials.
“The extraordinary level of research being conducted at these centers means being better able to collect critical data. Pharma now understands this concept and accepts the idea that our expertise offers leverage in generating a deeper understanding of lupus down to the molecular level,” explained Mr. Roy.
The result: Lupus Therapeutics has forged strategic partnerships with nine different pharmaceutical companies. And today, it is moving forward on a wide range of scientific investigations—from a smartphone app to relay lupus symptom information in real time … to evaluation of delayed-released Prednisone … to an innovative imaging procedure to assess lupus nephritis.
In summing up Lupus Therapeutics’ advances, Mr. Roy points out the pivotal role played by the LRA:
“Quite simply, none of our achievements would have been possible without the LRA. The organization’s credibility with leading lupus investigators has enabled Lupus Therapeutics to quickly build working relationships around clinical trials. At the end of the day we are a patient advocacy organization—where people living with lupus are always front and center.”