New Website Broadcasts Urgent Need for Lupus Clinical Trials

Will Next Decade Be 'Golden Era' of Lupus Drug Development?

No New FDA-Approved Drugs to Treat the Disease in 40+ Years

May 21, 2007, 01:00 ET from Lupus Research Institute

    NEW YORK, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lupus Research Institute and its
 National Coalition of state and local lupus organizations today announced
 the launch of, the official website for the new
 clinical trials campaign "Lupus Together: For Clinical Trials Today."
     The patient-friendly site is part of a year-long national initiative to
 educate the more than 1.5 million Americans with lupus-a chronic autoimmune
 disease for which there is no known cause, few medicines, and no cure-about
 the importance of participating in lupus clinical trials, and how to go
 about enrolling in one.
     The timing is critical, as promising new research findings spur drug
 developers to contemplate clinical research in lupus for the first time in
     Of the more than 15 clinical trials underway, many explore alternatives
 to the presently used drugs that are often as destructive-or even more
 so-than the disease itself. Currently approved therapies for lupus can
 weaken bones, destroy eyesight, cause uncontrollable appetite and mood
 swings, and sharply increase the risk for infection, diabetes and
 infertility, among other insidious and potentially life-threatening
     "Our patients need better treatment options," explains Margaret Dowd,
 president of the Lupus Research Institute. "Now is the time for the next
 generation of lupus therapies. We have waited long enough."
     To spread awareness of the existence and promise of clinical trials,
 visitors to the new website will not only learn about the clinical trial
 process but can read first-hand accounts of others who have participated in
 trials and get strategies for locating a trial that is taking place close
 to them.
     "Our hope is that the next 10 years will be the Golden Age for the
 development of new lupus drugs," says leading lupus doctor Richard Furie,
 MD, chief of rheumatology at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York.
 "Science is ready. But for success, the lupus community must band
 together." "We have the experts to conduct the trials. We have the
 Institute and others to get the word out. But to get results, we need lupus
 patients to show interest. This is for them. They need to do their part."
     Without enough study volunteers, trials cannot successfully determine
 the effectiveness of a treatment. This may discourage companies from
 exploring new drugs for lupus in the future.
     To learn more about lupus clinical trials, log on to
     The "Lupus Together: For Clinical Trials Today" is a campaign of the
 Lupus Research Institute National Coalition and is supported in part by
 unrestricted educational grants from Aspreva Pharmaceuticals,
 Genentech/Biogen Idec., and creative support from the New Jersey-based
 advertising agency, Galvanek & Wahl.
     About Lupus:
     Lupus is one of America's least recognized major diseases. It is
 estimated that as many as 2 million Americans have lupus. Systemic lupus
 erythematosus (S.L.E.), commonly called lupus, is a chronic and potentially
 fatal autoimmune disorder. It is considered the prototype autoimmune
 disease because the body's immune system forms antibodies that can attack
 virtually any healthy organ or tissue, from the kidneys to the brain,
 heart, lungs, skin, joints and blood. No major new treatments for lupus
 have been approved in the last 40 years, and existing medications are
 highly toxic and can have debilitating effects.
     About the Lupus Research Institute:
     The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) is the national nonprofit
 organization at the forefront of innovation in lupus research. Recognizing
 that most major medical breakthroughs come from unexpected directions, the
 Institute fosters and supports only the highest ranked new science to
 prevent, treat and cure this chronic autoimmune disease. Since its founding
 in 2000, the Institute has invested almost $20 million in novel lupus
 research, providing funding for 73 studies at 43 academic medical
 institutions in 22 states.
     Through its National Coalition, a network of national and regional
 leaders in major markets across America, the LRI also works with patient
 groups to advocate for increased research funding, to spread awareness of
 the severity of the disease and its complications, and to push for new
 treatments and a cure.
     To learn more about lupus and the Lupus Research Institute, visit

SOURCE Lupus Research Institute