LymphoStatB. Other than having a cool name, this drug has been a bit of a loser over the years. It seems I've heard about it for years, but always at the end of a presentation on Lupus; a kind of add-on to make the presenter look knowledgeable about up and coming meds or to make it look like he/she wasn't talking up the pharma sponsor's drug alone.
Other drugs have always been more interesting for some reason. Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept) made a bit of a splash, equalling but not besting cyclophoshamide. Not a huge step forward, but we all hate cyclophosphamide, so any little bit is appreciated. Rituximab (Rituxan) has been the unchallenged darling for several years now, largely based on accumulated anecdotal evidence . It was a huge disappointment though when actual science got in the way. Both the EXPLORER and LUNAR trials in SLE and SLE nephritis respectively, failed to show significant results in any endpoints examined. This was fairly startling to all of us, and lead to a weird spectacle wherebye diehard evidence-based types would swear that the stuff works, it's just that SLE is too darned hard to study because of its many manifestations and unpredictable course. This was fairly believable, I must say, until the recent results of our old and nearly forgotten wallflower, LymphoStatB. Since I last heard of it, it has changed its name to the far less cool, much more feminine name, Benlysta (belimumab), and has gone out and done what was said could not be done, get positive results in a Lupus trial . They now report,(the company Human Genome Sciences that is), that their trial of 819 patients over 76 weeks showed significant improvement in the primary endpoints, 40-43% in treated patients vs 33% in controls, as well a several secondary endpoints. It'll be nice to see the details, and of course, being published would be a good start.
Sounds good, and as a bonus, seems to put to rest the idea that SLE patients are impossible to study.