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BEAT-Lupus hits 50% milestone

The UK’s first clinical trial using combination of two biologic therapies for lupus patients has met its 50% recruitment target. The trial has the potential to change the way patients are treated and improve their lives.

The study, BEAT-Lupus, has recruited 25 patients out of 50, despite the fact that recruiting to lupus trials is often difficult. This is an important milestone for the lupus community in England,

There is currently no cure for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and existing treatments only help with management of symptoms. The trial aims to see if belimumab, a BAFF inhibitor, will improve the outcome for patients with lupus who are already treated with the drug rituximab –that depletes B cells.

Professor Mike Ehrenstein, Chief Investigator for the study said: “This study could change the way we treat patients with lupus. If the results are positive rituximab plus belimumab would be an important advance to improve the lives of patients with lupus.”

SLE is an autoimmune disease that occurs when antibodies, produced by immune B cells, attack the body’s own cells by mistake. This attack causes severe inflammation with patients also suffering from fatigue, rashes, hair loss, arthritis and blood disorders. Long-term complications include early onset of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.

The trial is supported by the BRC, Arthritis UK and GSK.