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Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2010 Sep;6(9):547-52. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2010.117. Epub 2010 Jul 20.

Biological therapy for lupus nephritis-tribulations and trials.

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  • 1Department of Renal Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.


Several new targeted biologic agents for treating lupus nephritis are on the horizon; however, it is important to determine the circumstances in which they should be used, and how to optimally combine these agents with current or other new therapies. Conventional immunosuppressive therapy has transformed survival in lupus nephritis, but its use is associated with considerable toxic effects and suboptimal efficacy. There is a clear need for new therapeutic agents that overcome these issues, and biologic agents offer exciting opportunities. B cells, T cells, cytokines and complement are potential targets for these therapies. It is anticipated that the role of B-cell depletion in lupus nephritis will be clarified and that other biologic agents will be developed. The complexities of clinical trials in lupus nephritis have impeded the demonstration of the efficacy of new agents, but if these difficulties can be overcome, there is a real chance that outcomes in lupus nephritis will improve.

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