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Open Access Review

Novel therapeutic agents in clinical development for systemic lupus erythematosus

Natasha Jordan, Pamela MK Lutalo and David P D’Cruz*

Author Affiliations

Louise Coote Lupus Unit, St Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7EH, UK

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BMC Medicine 2013, 11:120  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-120

Published: 3 May 2013


Conventional immunosuppressive therapies have radically transformed patient survival in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but their use is associated with considerable toxicity and a substantial proportion of patients remain refractory to treatment. A more comprehensive understanding of the complexity of SLE immunopathogenesis has evolved over the past decade and has led to the testing of several biologic agents in clinical trials. There is a clear need for new therapeutic agents that overcome these issues, and biologic agents offer exciting prospects as future SLE therapies.

An array of promising new therapies are currently emerging or are under development including B-cell depletion therapies, agents targeting B-cell survival factors, blockade of T-cell co-stimulation and anti-cytokine therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies against interleukin-6 and interferon-α.

Lupus nephritis; B-cell depletion; BLys; T-cell co-stimulation; Interferon-α, SLE