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Autoimmun Rev. 2017 Nov;16(11):1119-1124. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2017.09.006. Epub 2017 Sep 9.

The new targeted therapy in systemic lupus erythematosus: Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

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Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Autoimmune Diseases, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
Policlinic and Hiller Research Unit for Rheumatology, UKD, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Germany.


Biologic therapy is still limited in lupus, where chronic steroid exposure and wide-spectrum immunosuppression are major triggers of organ damage. In this viewpoint, the authors summarize their views for a "half-full or half-empty" glass on targeted therapy in SLE. The are several reasons for seeing the glass half-empty and in this section the authors propose a critical reflection on scarceness of novel targeted lupus therapies. They show how hard it is to identify suitable biological and clinical targets and to choose the patients that may best fit those targets, as well as to stratify patients according to disease subtype and response, all contributing to the final outcome. On the other hand, reasons are emerging to see the glass half-full, including the growing evidence that disease activity and damage can both be hindered by the proper use of novel drugs and that promising molecules are upcoming. In this section, the authors contextualize potentials and failures of new drugs, providing a critical reading of disappointing results and underlining the concrete benefits obtainable through a wise use of available treatments. Indeed, combining medications with new therapeutic strategies such as the treat-to-target seems the right approach to add some water to a filling glass.


Belimumab; Biologics; Individualized therapies; Outcome measure; Treat-to-target

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