Posted by: Thixia | June 20, 2008

Lupus Drug for Multiple Sclerosis?

Recently Human Genome Sciences (HGS) stated they were going ahead with several of their new drugs and they are planning to test LymphoStat-B, an experimental lupus drug, on Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The company feels the drug may also be effective on MS in addition to lupus because it inhibits a protein found in the lesions of MS patients.

 

HGS and its partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are looking to treat a total of four auto-immune diseases with LymphoStat-B. Jerry Parrott, HGS spokesman, stated the company continues to work on the details of the clinical trial on MS, but the company is currently in the late stage trial of drug treatment in lupus patients. A new lupus drug has been a long time coming. The companies are racing to conclude their trial and present data by the end of next year in hopes of seeking the FDA’s approval in 2010.

 

Lupus is a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease. It can occur at any age, but is most often seen in patients from fifteen to mid forties, and 90 percent are women. Lupus can lead to kidney failure, arthritis, inflammation of the heart and lungs, problems with the central nervous system, blood disorders, and inflammation of blood vessels. The disease can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Sufferers complain often with fatigue, painful and swollen joints, fever, skin rashes, and kidney problems. Over 5 million people worldwide suffer with some form of Lupus.

 

LymphoStat-B recognizes and inhibits the biological activity of the naturally occurring protein, B-lymphocyte stimulator, BLyS, that was discovered by HGS. In autoimmune diseases, such as Lupus, elevated levels of BLyS are believed to contribute to the production of antibodies that attack and destroy the body’s healthy tissues. HGS and GSK are conducting a phase 2 trial of LymphoStat-B in hopes of positive results in the treatment of MS in addition to its treatment of Lupus. The companies reasoning for testing the drug on MS is because the drug inhibits the activity of BLyS, which is associated with the MS disease process.

 

MS is a disease of the central nervous system and some patients may have few signs of the disease and others may experience disabilities and disruption in communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Many researchers and scientist believe MS is an autoimmune disease. They believe the body, through its immune system, attacks against its own tissues. The disease could be caused by environmental factors or a virus. MS patients usually experience their first signs of the disease between 20 and 40 years of age. Some symptoms can be blurred or double vision, red and green color distortion, or blindness in one eye, muscle weakness in their arms and legs, and difficulty with balance and coordination. MS can be very painful, and at times sufferers may have a numbness, prickling or “pins and needles” sensation.

 

Despite the current treatment for MS and lupus there is still no cure, although great strides are being made by scientists to find better treatment and a future cure. HGS isn’t the only company working to develop new lupus drug treatments on MS. Recently another new drug, Rituxan, failed in late-stage human testing. The main difference between the two drugs is LymphoStat-B moderates the targeted disease fighting cells while Rituxan removes them.

 

Anyone interested in LymphoStat-B clinical trials or other studies involving HGS products may inquire via email to clinical-trials@hgsi.com or by calling HGS at (301) 610-5790, extension 3550.

 

 

 

 

 

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