Where is lupus therapy going?

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease with heterogeneity in clinical manifestations and disease course, characterized by numerous antibodies and organ damage.  The disease has been the focus of many basic and clinical investigators and has stimulated great interest in the pharmaceutical community to develop new treatment targets.

An Arthritis Research & Therapy supplement on ‘New therapeutic targets in systemic lupus’, edited by Jennifer Anolik (University of Rochester Medical Center), examines the current status of lupus care and addresses emerging knowledge of the immunopathogenesis of this disease.

In their review article, Boneparth and Davidson provide a detailed overview of the knowledge concerning B-cell activating factor’s (BAFF) role in murine and human B-cell development and maturation, as well as the clinical and mechanistic effects of BAFF inhibition in human SLE.  Giltiay and colleagues further explore the role of B-cells and suggest that established B-cell depletion strategies will facilitate development of means to reduce disease-associated dendritic cell populations as well.

Despite significant therapeutic advances, the management of SLE remains a challenge. The field has not yet reached the stage where early diagnosis can be universally achieved, and no biomarker has been successfully validated for use in the routine clinical setting. As concluded in the review from Lateef and Petri, “Future research will focus on the goals of increasing survival, limiting organ damage and improving quality of life for patients with SLE.”

Articles in this supplement were commissioned by the journal, were independently prepared by the authors and have undergone the journal’s standard peer review process.  Publication of the supplement has been supported by an unrestricted educational grant from UCB.

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