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New Lupus Drug Showed Positive Results In Trial Said Manufacturer

A phase 2 trial of the drug belimumab in patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) showed positive results, according to the drug company. Human Genome Sciences (HGS) of Rockville, Maryland, USA, told delegates attending the 2009 Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) in Copenhagen on 11 June that the four-year trial results showed "sustained improvement in disease activity and patient response rate", frequency of disease flares went down, and there was no overall increase in adverse events, serious or otherwise. HGS and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have agreed terms to develop and sell belimumab, formerly LymphoStat-B and now known under the brand name Benlysta.

MabThera To Reduce The Progression Of Joint Damage When Used As A First-line Biologic Treatment In RA

New data show for the first time that a course of 2 infusions of MabThera 1000mg (rituximab, known as Rituxan within the United States) given every 24 weeks as the patient's first biologic can significantly slow down joint damage following 1 year of treatment, with virtually no progression of joint damage seen from six months1. The IMAGE study, presented at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) annual congress, showed that methotrexate-na├ ve patients treated with 1000mg MabThera in combination with methotrexate (MTX), had three times less joint damage after 1 year (measured by Total Sharp Score) compared to those treated with methotrexate (MTX) alone.

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Shedding Light On Age Effects In Arthritis

Older mice are more susceptible to proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA). Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Immunity & Ageing have shown, for the first time, that young mice are completely resistant, but become fully susceptible to the disease with age. Tibor Glant, from Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, worked with a team of researchers to investigate the effects of immunological senescence on susceptibility to arthritis. He said, "Our results suggest that, while the young can effectively regulate their immune response to proteoglycan, in older mice these mechanisms are partially lost. This 'physiological' loss of control may lead to sustained activation of autoreactive T cells and auto-antibody production, directing the immune system against self antigen and culminating in joint inflammation in genetically susceptible animals".

New Analysis Shows Efficacy Of SIMPONI TM golimumab In Anti-TNF Experienced Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

A new analysis demonstrated that a greater proportion of patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who had prior treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha agents and received subcutaneous injections of SIMPONI(TM) (golimumab) once every four weeks experienced significant improvements in signs and symptoms through week 24, compared with patients receiving placebo. Patients continued to receive stable doses of methotrexate, sulfasalazine and/or hydroxychloroquine if receiving them at baseline. These data were presented at the 2009 European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Annual Congress. Findings from the GOlimumab After Former anti-TNF Therapy Evaluated in RA (GO-AFTER) study, demonstrated that patients previously treated with adalimumab, etanercept or infliximab responded to and tolerated SIMPONI regardless of the type of prior anti-TNF therapy, as well as the number of prior therapies or reason for discontinuation.

Pharming Receives Agreement On Paediatric Investigation Plan For Rhucin R From The EMEA Paediatric Committee

Biotech company Pharming Group NV ("Pharming" or "the Company") (NYSE Euronext: PHARM) today announced that the Paediatric Committee (PDCO) of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has adopted an opinion agreeing the paediatric investigation plan (PIP) for Rhucin® (recombinant human C1 inhibitor) in the therapeutic area of immunology-rheumatology transplantation. "Agreement of the PIP represents a key milestone in Pharming's regulatory plans for the September 2009 submission of the Rhucin marketing authorisation application, " said Dr. Bruno Giannetti, COO of Pharming. According to the EC Regulation 1901/2006 of 12 December 2006, pharmaceutical companies that submit an application for a marketing authorisation for a medicinal product (MAA) in the EU, have to include an approved PIP as part of the regulatory submission.

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New Risk Factor Gene For Rheumatoid Arthritis Identified By Researchers

Scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a team of collaborators from across the country have identified a new risk factor gene for rheumatoid arthritis. The paper will be published in Nature Genetics and the finding brings light to the nature of the disease. The gene, dubbed REL, is a member of the NF-╬ B family, important transcription factors that have many roles in the body. The NF-╬ B family seems to have a big hand in regulating the body's immune response as well. "The NF-╬ B is a key switching point for many cellular activities, " said Peter K. Gregersen, MD, head of the Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics and Human Genetics at the Feinstein Institute and lead author of the study.

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