Lupus Nephritis

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About Lupus Nephritis

Lupus nephritis is among the most serious complications of SLE, occurring in 30 – 60% of individuals with SLE. In lupus nephritis, the body’s own immune system attacks the kidneys, causing inflammation and significantly reducing kidney function over time.

Krishna Polu, M.D., Equillium’s Chief Medical Officer, discusses the long-term consequences of lupus nephritis as well as the need for approved treatments

Ken Kalunian, M.D., Professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at UC San Diego, discusses the shortcomings of current lupus nephritis treatment approaches

There Is a Significant Unmet Need

While there are no FDA-approved drugs for lupus nephritis, standard treatment includes high-dose corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs. These therapies have many toxic side effects and as many as 50% – 75% of patients don’t respond to treatment. The majority of individuals who respond to treatment go on to relapse within 5 years.

The CD6-ALCAM signaling pathway plays a central role in the modulation of effector T cells, or Teff cells. Teff cells are thought to play a central role in multiple autoimmune diseases including lupus nephritis.

Learn more about the CD6-ALCAM Pathway and its role in immune-inflammatory diseases

The Need for a Targeted Approach

Lupus and Lupus Nephritis are heterogenous diseases, meaning there are likely multiple causative factors that may trigger the disease in individual patients. Biomarkers may help physicians determine the appropriate treatment for individual patients. Preliminary research has demonstrated that the kidney tissue in patients with active lupus nephritis contain high levels of Teff cells that express CD6. Additional research has demonstrated that active lupus nephritis patients highly express ALCAM in their urine, suggesting the possibility of distinguishing active lupus nephritis patients from lupus patients without any renal complications of the disease. Both datasets suggest that the CD6-ALCAM pathway is highly active in patients with lupus nephritis.

Ken Kalunian, M.D., Professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at UC San Diego, discusses the multiple causative factors that may trigger lupus nephritis

The EQUALISE Study

A Phase 1b Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Multiple Ascending-dose Study of itolizumab ( EQ001 ) in Subjects With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus With or Without Active Proliferative Lupus Nephritis

Krishna Polu, M.D., Equillium’s Chief Medical Officer, discusses the emerging research that implicates the CD6-ALCAM pathway in patients with lupus nephritis

The CD6-ALCAM Pathway Is Highly Active in Patients with Lupus Nephritis

Lupus and lupus nephritis are heterogenous diseases, meaning there are likely multiple causative factors that may trigger the disease in individual patients. Biomarkers may help physicians determine the appropriate treatment for individual patients. Preliminary research has demonstrated that the kidney tissue in patients with active lupus nephritis contain high levels of Teff cells that express CD6. Additional research has demonstrated that active lupus nephritis patients highly express ALCAM in their urine, suggesting the possibility of distinguishing active lupus nephritis patients from lupus patients without any renal complications of the disease. Both datasets suggest that the CD6-ALCAM pathway is highly active in patients with lupus nephritis.

Patient Participation In Clinical Trials Is Crucial

Given the lack of approved treatment options for patients with lupus nephritis, participation in clinical trials, such as the EQUALISE trial is tremendously important.

Ken Kalunian, M.D., Professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at UC San Diego, discusses the importance of clinical trial participation

Ellen H. and Courtney W., both living with lupus, share their thoughts and feelings about participating in clinical research to help find new treatments.

Additional information on the EQUALISE clinical trial