Researchers finds Irish Lupus patients likely to benefit from new treatment

May 7, 2013

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have discovered that a new treatment for the inflammatory condition, Systemic Lupus Erythmstosus (SLE) could potentially benefit Irish patients who suffer from the condition.

SLE is an autoimmune disease whereby a person's immune system attacks the body's cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. SLE most often harms the skin, joints, blood vessels, kidneys and the nervous system. SLE is a rare condition in Ireland, affecting approximately 1,500 people. It can affect up to 10 times as many women as men. The research has identified Irish SLE patients that are susceptible to active disease and increased organ damage brought on by lupus as it progresses. This is due to the presence of high levels of a called Stimulator (BLyS) in the body. This messenger can cause the body's cells to produce antibodies that attack its own tissues, thus causing .

The effects of BLyS are specifically targeted by a new drug called Belimumab (Benlysta). It is the first drug to be approved by the European Medicines Agency to treat lupus in more than 50 years. The research will help doctors identify patients that are most likely to benefit from the drug as not all patients may respond to the treatment.

Professor Caroline Jefferies, Associate Professor in Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), RCSI and principal investigator of the study, commented, 'Lupus is a very complex disease and one of the biggest challenges, currently, is identifying the patients who are most likely to benefit from as they are approved. Our research suggests that simply measuring BLyS levels in patients may identify those who will best respond to Belimumab, thus improving the long-term outcomes for these patients.'

This research was recently published in Rheumatology.

Belimumab is used to treat who don't respond to usual medication comprising of a combination of steroids and immunosuppressive anti-inflammatory drugs, both of which have side effects following long-term use.

More information: McCarthy, E. et al. Elevated B lymphocyte stimulator levels are associated with increased damage in an Irish systemic lupus erythematosus cohort. Rheumatology. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/ket120

Related Stories

Belimumab deemed safe for long-term lupus treatment

June 19, 2012

(HealthDay) -- For patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), long-term belimumab therapy combined with standard therapy is well tolerated, according to a study published online June 5 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Predictors of organ damage identified in patients with SLE

December 16, 2012

(HealthDay)—Patient age, hypertension, and corticosteroid use are the most important predictors of the cumulative organ damage that occurs in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to research published ...

A nanogel-based treatment for lupus

March 1, 2013

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. Current treatments are focused on suppression of the immune system, ...

Recommended for you

Team finds gene that confirms existence of psoriatic arthritis

February 5, 2015

PsA is a common form of inflammatory form of arthritis causing pain and stiffness in joints and tendons that can lead to joint damage. Nearly all patients with PsA also have skin psoriasis and, in many cases, the skin disease ...

Blocking one receptor could halt rheumatoid arthritis

September 10, 2014

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have shown for the first time how the activation of a receptor provokes the inflammation and bone degradation of rheumatoid arthritis—and that activation ...

Low back pain? Don't blame the weather

July 10, 2014

Australian researchers reveal that sudden, acute episodes of low back pain are not linked to weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation. Findings published in Arthritis ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.