Any news on promising treatments for Lupus is always welcome. Indeed, it has been years since any new therapies have provided much new hope for a disease which has very significant renal implications.
Benlysta is an investigational human monoclonal antibody drug and the first in a new class of drugs called BLyS-specific inhibitors. These drugs prevent b-cell proliferation and development in to mature plasma cells with a resuling drop in antibody production. This mechanism of action is very well-suited to Lupus whose pathophysiology is widely thought to involve autoantibody formation.
Results of phase-3 clinical trials have been previously reported showing positive results, a first in many years for the management of lupus. As a result, the drug has been granted a priority review designation by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA), an indication that this drug has an important role in managing lupus as other medications have left much to be desired.
What is not clear however, is the role that this medication will have in the management of lupus nephritis as it seems that these patients were excluded from the initial trials.