An update on belimumab for the treatment of lupus
Aikaterini Thanou-Stavraki1, Amr H Sawalha1,2,3
1Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA; 2US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA; 3Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Abstract: B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), a homeostatic factor for B-cell differentiation and survival, has a major role in B-cell expansion and autoreactivity that characterize systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Belimumab, a BLyS-specific inhibitor, has shown promising evidence of efficacy in several preclinical and clinical studies in SLE. Two recent large randomized controlled trials yielded a significant positive effect of the drug compared to placebo in patients with active disease. In this review, we discuss basic aspects of B-cell and BLyS biology in SLE and summarize the evidence supporting a role of belimumab in SLE, from animal studies to phase III clinical trials.
Keywords: B lymphocyte stimulator, lupus erythematosus, belimumab
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