I got this release from the Lupus Foundation of America yesterday and felt a bit of serendipity because I had spoken to an Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation lupus scientist-physician the other day about similar stuff.
The big picture: Potential cures for debilitating diseases are hindered because not enough people participate in clinical trials. I don’t know how widespread this is, but I’m fairly confident it’s common.
When people think of clinical trials, they (I include myself on this one) often think of last-ditch efforts to save cancer patients with some new wonder drug. While this certainly happens, clinical trials are more widespread than most people realize and go well beyond cancer. And they are needed for approval of new drugs.
In comes the lupus release, in which the foundation calls for greater participation in lupus drug trials.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved a new lupus medicine in more than 40 years. Treatments instead are “borrowed,” to use the release’s term, from other disorders, definitely not the best way to deal with the autoimmune disorder that afflicts anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of Americans. This is common practice in medicine and sometimes is done “off the book” in which a treatment is given that hasn’t been approved for a particular use.
“Hope is on the horizon, however, as there are more than two dozen potential new lupus therapies in various stages of development and clinical evaluation,” according to the release. “Unfortunately, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are finding it increasingly difficult to identify enough eligible people with lupus at experienced clinical trial centers to participate in their studies. This shortage of well-informed patients could slow the momentum which has been building for lupus drug development.”
For more information, visit www.lupus.org. The LFA will conduct a live chat on its Website on Wednesday, September 12 at 2 p.m. to answer questions from individuals interested in lupus clinical trials. Kenneth A. Getz, a senior research fellow at the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, will be the featured guest.