Lupus drug with roots in La Jolla gets FDA’s approval


City News Service

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the first drug treatment for lupus in 50 years, and the medicine has its roots in La Jolla at The Scripps Research Institute.

The drug called Benlysta helps prevent a body’s immune system from attacking its tissues. Rockville, M.D.-based Human Genome Sciences developed the drug, which will be co-marketed by Philadelphia-based GlaxoSmithKline.

Researchers at TSRI helped with a pair of breakthroughs that made the treatment possible, according to Dr. Richard Lerner, the president of the organization.

“I am deeply gratified that our scientific findings have proven so valuable to drug discovery,” Lerner said. “This development underlines the importance of basic academic science in laying important groundwork for life-saving medical advances.”

Benlysta is aimed at systemic lupus erythematosus, one of several type of lupus.

The chronic, life-threatening inflammatory disease affects joints, skin, kidneys, blood, heart, and lungs.

The U.S Centers for Disease Control estimates anywhere from 161,000 to 1.5 million Americans have that form of lupus, mostly females aged 15-40.

Lupus is an auto-immune disease, occurring when a person’s body produces an immune response against its own tissues instead of attacking foreign invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and other toxins.

Symptoms can include debilitating fatigue, painful and swollen joints, fever, skin rash, and kidney problems. The disease can also lead to arthritis, kidney failure, heart and lung inflammation, central nervous system abnormalities, inflammation of the blood vessels and blood disorders.

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Posted by Staff on Mar 10, 2011. Filed under La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Lupus drug with roots in La Jolla gets FDA’s approval”

  1. Candi

    Sure am looking forward to this being available. I've suffered for 11 years now and I'm getting pretty worn down. Would be great to have help fighting illness and disease. Lupus attacked my lungs twice in 6 months, putting me in the hospital very ill this last year. So that makes 11 times I've had pneumonia now! It's a very nasty disease!

  2. eva

    I've had lupus for 15 years suffer daily with joint pains/fatigue, have flares with plurisy which is very painfull. I just hope this new med can help me. lets keep looking for better medications since meds used can really take a toll on your body also

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