The Lupus Foundation of America announced the launch of a new public-private partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, to co-fund a major phase II study to evaluate mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) as a treatment for moderate to severe lupus. NIAID has made a five year commitment to support the study and will fund a data coordination center, site and safety monitoring, and mechanistic studies for the duration of the study. For year 1 of the study, NIAID has committed 720K in funding. This is an addition to the Foundation’s previously announced $3.8M in funding over the five years.
This study is the first step in determining whether stem cell therapy holds promise as a safe and effective alternative for people with lupus who do not benefit from the current treatments available. The study also seeks to determine if MSC stem cell therapy may diminish the often debilitating long-term effects of lupus, reduce the need for medications like steroids, which have harmful side effects and stop damage to vital organs. The US-based mesenchymal clinical study is expected to open for enrollment in summer 2018.
The collaboration with NIAID demonstrates the growing trend and importance of public-private partnership between government, non-profit and research partners to advance research efforts into the causes of lupus and the discovery of new treatments. This is particularly important for a disease like lupus that is greatly underfunded, relative to its scope and devastation.
“Robust funding is vital to moving lupus research forward. Without sufficient funding from public and private resources, research treatments will be delayed, and the search for better treatments and cures will be seriously impaired,” said Sandra C. Raymond, Chief Executive Officer of the Lupus Foundation of America. “People with lupus need and deserve better treatment options now. This clinical study represents an innovative step forward in lupus research, and our hope is that we will be able to add stem cell therapy to the arsenal of treatments available for people with lupus.”
Visit the Lupus Foundation of America’s website (https://www.lupus.org/pages/stem-cell-therapy-for-lupus) for additional information about the study.
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with and a challenge to treat. Lupus is debilitating and destructive and can be fatal, yet research on lupus remains underfunded relative to diseases of similar scope and devastation.
About The Lupus Foundation of America
The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus. For more information, visit lupus.org.
SOURCE: The Lupus Foundation of America