By Sandra Raymond, president and CEO, The Lupus Foundation of America
Conversations and healthy debate about issues facing our industry and the health care system are critical to addressing some of today’s challenges and opportunities. The Catalyst welcomes guest contributors, including patients, stakeholders, innovators and others, to share their perspectives and point of view. Views represented here may not be those of PhRMA, though they are no less key to a healthy dialogue on issues in health care today.
The Catalyst today welcomes The Lupus Foundation of America’s president and CEO Sandra Raymond to discuss advances in research for lupus.
At the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), we are devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, which is a cruel, unpredictable and a devastating autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. Because of the toll that untreated lupus can have on the body, there is tremendous need for a range of treatment options, and yet currently there are only a handful of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved therapies.
The current research pipeline broadly highlights what we in the lupus community are seeing in our disease area: diverse approaches to a tough scientific challenge. Our regulatory system must keep pace with the science and embrace the latest tools to improve the process to deliver these treatments to patients.
The LFA has devoted our work to finding a cure for a disease that impacts 1.5 million Americans. With the advancements in biopharmaceutical treatments, we believe we can find a cure for lupus, and for the other diseases currently thought of as incurable. LFA has made pioneering contributions towards ending the brutal impact of this unpredictable disease, including dedicated funding into the impact of lupus on the cardiovascular system, brain, and kidney.
A recent report from The Analysis Group shows that 74 percent of the medicines in the pipeline have the potential to be first-in-class therapies. Whereas in the past some lupus treatments have controlled the disease by suppressing the entire immune system, today, we are seeing more medicines in development that take a targeted approach. In addition, there are over 800 orphan drugs that are currently in clinical development across several rare disease states, including lupus. These discoveries require a better understanding of the underlying disease and a commitment to innovative research shared across the ecosystem.