Treatments for Lupus Patients Repositioned from Other Indications: Top Priority Candidates Announced by the ALR and LRI

The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) and the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) launched the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN) that will conduct clinical trials as part of the drug repositioning program LRxL-STAT at the American College of Rheumatology meeting. Commissioned by the ALR and LRI, and conducted in partnership with AMPEL Biosolutions, LRxL-STAT has identified and now will begin testing potential new treatments for lupus from among those approved for other human conditions.   

The five highest priority candidates announced are: the small molecule quinacrine, autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, the complementary and alternative krill oil treatment, and Janssen’s biologic ustekinumab.  An experimental treatment in development by Kadmon is also being considered for testing.  LuCIN is comprised of over 50 academic lupus centers representing all geographic regions of the U.S. 

Today’s breakthrough announcement comes only a year after the ALR and LRI announced their trailblazing cooperative project to speed up availability of new treatments for lupus patients.   The need is urgent since there has been only one new treatment approved by the FDA in over fifty years.  Drug repositioning can quickly bring to patients treatments for which side effects and mechanism of action are already well-characterized.  In contrast, typical drug development takes about 10-15 years and 1.5 billion dollars to develop a new treatment.  

ALR and LRI’s lupus drug repositioning initiative began with community suggestions for potential treatments in conjunction with a diligent and thorough search of the world’s literature for appropriate drugs by AMPEL BioSolutions investigators Drs. Amrie Grammer & Peter Lipsky. They performed evidence-based analysis on each potential lupus therapy using the CoLT, or Combined Lupus Treatment, scoring system that incorporates rationale, pre-clinical/clinical experience, drug properties and safety profile.  Proof-of-concept trials conducted by LuCIN will be small, focused and biomarker-rich. The first lupus drug repositioning trials will begin by the second quarter of 2015.

About Lupus
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation & 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 Alliance for Lupus Research
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 from the public, to go directly to support research programs. More information can be found at www.alr.org.

About the Lupus Research Institute
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 solutions to this complex autoimmune disease. Founded by families and shaped by leading scientists, the Institute has generated over $170 million in novel lupus research, delivering many of the decade’s most pivotal breakthroughs, 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 through research awareness, education and advocacy as it drives to a Life Without Lupus. For more information, visit www.lupusresearchinstitute.org.