2011 Top Game Changers in Nephrology

George Bakris, MD; Jeffrey S. Berns, MD; Lynda A. Szczech, MD; Carol Peckham


November 16, 2011

In This Article

8. New Lupus Drug Is Here; Now What About the Kidneys?

It has been several decades since a new medication has been approved for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In February 2011, The Lancet published results of a phase 3 trial of belimumab, a fully human immunoglobulin G monoclonal antibody that binds to and inhibits the activity of B-lymphocyte stimulator, a survival cytokine for these lymphocytes.[4] Lynda Szczech wrote in her Medscape Viewpoint, "B-lymphocyte stimulator is overproduced in patients with SLE, and its concentration correlates with disease activity and anti-double-stranded DNA antibody titer. Patients were randomly assigned to either placebo, belimumab 1 mg/kg, or belimumab 10 mg/kg. Both groups receiving belimumab experienced a benefit over those receiving placebo. For each scale, however, the group receiving 10 mg/kg generally experienced a greater benefit than the group receiving 1 mg/kg. It is worth noting, however, that little information is provided in this initial report on how belimumab may have affected the course of those with established renal manifestations of their lupus. The study authors should be encouraged to look at this subgroup to provide those of us in nephrology with insight on the potential use of this drug, with a focus on its effect on the kidney."

Read the complete Viewpoint on this study from Lynda Szczech, MD.


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