NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) and the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) announced a trailblazing cooperative project to speed up the identification and availability of new treatments for lupus. Details of this new effort focused on identifying new treatments for lupus from among those that have been approved for other human conditions can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/in/lrxlstat.
With only one drug approved for lupus in over 50 years and serious side effects of existing treatments, there is a critical need for new therapies to treat and stop progression of this dangerous autoimmune disease. Despite the advance of new science, the overall pace of drug development in lupus has been slow. The ALR and LRI believe it is possible to identify therapies more quickly and are taking a proactive role to drive this process.
Developing New Lupus Treatments
An initial scan of all of the drugs and treatments available for human use has found approximately 70 existing therapies that have been approved for other conditions -- multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, transplant rejection or cancer -- that potentially could be used to treat lupus. The new collaborative project will produce a comprehensive evidence-based analysis to fully document and prioritize each as a potential lupus therapy based on mechanism of action, safety profile, availability, feasibility to carry out a trial in lupus, and likelihood to succeed. A panel of academic and industry experts will review the database and prioritize potential therapies, and approximately 20 candidates are expected to emerge for further study in small focused science-rich clinical trials.
The study process and analysis will be fully transparent throughout; the priority list of candidate drugs and treatments will be made widely available for use across the lupus community to advance testing of potential new treatments in lupus.
"The urgent needs of lupus patients for safer and more effective treatments is the impetus for this newly energized, aggressive approach to drug development," said Margaret Dowd, President and CEO of the Lupus Research Institute.
"We are excited about this collaboration between our two organizations and believe that by combining resources we will be able to accelerate the development of new lupus treatments," Alliance for Lupus Research President Kenneth M. Farber commented.
Scientific coordinator of this project, Peter Lipsky, MD noted, "By maintaining complete objectivity, depending on scientific analysis and pre-set rules of prioritization, and engaging the academic, clinical and pharmaceutical communities in a transparent manner, this process should accelerate the identification of new therapeutic candidates with real potential to improve lives of patients with lupus and contribute to de-risking the process of developing new treatments for this disease."
Developer of scientific content, Amrie Grammer, PhD commented, "The project is eager to hear from all with expertise and/or interest in solving the seemingly insurmountable problem of developing new therapies for lupus, which can manifest itself in nearly every organ and body system. We are open and ready to assess suggested therapies."
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and tissue damage to any organ system in the body. The health effects of lupus include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, organ failure, and possible death.
About the ALR
The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) is a national voluntary health organization dedicated to finding better treatments and ultimately preventing and curing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus), a debilitating autoimmune disease. The organization is based in New York City and chaired by Robert Wood Johnson IV, a member of the founding family of Johnson & Johnson. Since its founding in 1999, the ALR has given more money to lupus research than any non-governmental agency in the world. The board of directors funds all administrative and fundraising costs, allowing one hundred percent of all donations to go directly to support research programs. More information can be found at www.alr.org.
About the LRI
The Lupus Research Institute (LRI), the leading private supporter of novel research in lupus, pioneers discovery and champions scientific creativity as it demonstrates the power of innovation to propel scientific discovery in this complex autoimmune disease. Founded by families and shaped by leading scientists, the Institute has generated $170 million in novel lupus research, delivering many of the decade's most pivotal discoveries, transforming treatment and advancing toward prevention and a cure.
With its National Patient Coalition of regional lupus organizations, the Lupus Research Institute improves patient care by promoting research awareness, education and advocacy as it drives to A Life Without Lupus. For more information, visit www.lupusresearchinstitute.org.
SOURCE The Lupus Research Institute