Sifalimumab and the Struggle to Solve Lupus

(ACR 2014) A drug with a novel mechanism, sifalimumab, shows promise against lupus. In a video interview, Munther Khamastha MD describes the latest research into what could become a second new option for lupus patients.

Could the interferon-α inhibitor sifalimumab offer a new option for lupus treatment? In this brief video interview, Munther Khamastha MD discusses results of Phase 2 trials presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, testing different doses of the drug against placebo.

He also talks about how the candidate drug compares to the recently approved lupus treatment belimumab.

Dr. Khamashta is professor of medicine and director of the Lupus Research Unit at St. Thomas Hospital in London.




The questions:

•   Can you tell us what [sifalimumab] is and why it's important to lupus patients?

•   Is this the first interferon-α inhibitor [to be tried for lupus]?

•   How are you defining success?

•   Do you have any indications of what the adverse events are likely to be?

•   Can you say anything about the level of viral adverse effects as compared to other medications routinely used in rheumatology?

•   Do you have any insights [into] how this drug might integrate with or compare to the use of belimumab in lupus?

•   So the thought is that this is a possible alternative to belimumab in patients who aren't doing so well on that drug?

Key quotes:

"Belimumab is anti-Blys, a totally different pathway. The trials which have been done for belimumab [are of] a similar design ... so the future will be bright if we have yet another drug licensed for lupus."

"In rheumatoid we have 10, 11 drugs already licensed to be used. [Doctors treating RA] are living in a honeymoon. We don't have that honeymoon yet. We are struggling, with one."


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