Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New drugs to treat lupus

WASHINGTON: An advisory panel for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday recommended a new drug treatment for lupus which if approved would be the first for the disease in more than 50 years.

An FDA spokeswoman said the committee voted 13-2 in favour of a drug called Benlysta, an experimental therapy developed by pharmaceutical companies Human Genome Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline.

The full FDA must next consider whether to approve the drug for the market, likely in December. Typically the agency follows the recommendations of the advisory panel.

Five million people worldwide have the disease. Blacks and Asians tend to get a more severe form of lupus than whites.

"We are pleased to share the exciting news that Benlysta has cleared a significant hurdle on its path to becoming the first FDA-approved medication for lupus in 52 years," said Sandra Raymond, president of the Lupus Foundation of America.

"Each person with lupus is unique, and if Benlysta is approved, it would be a significant and necessary first step towards creating the full arsenal of treatments that lupus requires," said Raymond.

There have been no new treatments in the last several decades for lupus, a disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own organs and tissues and is most often seen in women of child-bearing age.

Symptoms can include fever, swollen joints, skin rashes and severe damage of the kidneys, lungs or central nervous system.

Of the 1.5 million people in the United States who have lupus, five per cent have a life-threatening form of the disease that is resistant to standard treatment.


Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
New drugs to treat lupus

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